Rest in Peace, Mr Jin Yong

BY SILVI WRITER

 

One of the world’s most influential Chinese novelists Louis Cha Leung-yung, better known by his pen name Jin Yong (金庸), died on Tuesday in Hong Kong’s Sanatorium and Hospital at the age of 94.

Cha was considered the grandfather of Chinese martial arts and chivalry, or wuxia (武侠), fiction for his works, which were largely set in the world of the Jianghu (江湖), a society where martial arts advocates travel China trading blows, teaching skills and upholding a strict code of honour.

More than 300 million copies of Cha’s works have been sold worldwide.

His novels also inspired television series, movies and even video games in a glittering career.

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Cha was born in Feb 1924 in Haining, a highly literal city in eastern China’s coastal Zhejiang Province.

He hailed from the scholarly Cha clan of Haining (海宁查氏), whose members included notable literati of the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. His grandfather obtained the position of a tong jinshi chushen (third class graduate) in the imperial examination during the Qing dynasty.

Cha was the younger cousin of Xu Zhimo (1897-1931), a free-thinking Chinese poet who strove to loosen Chinese poetry from its traditional forms, and to reshape it under the influence of western poetry and the vernacular Chinese language.

Haining was also hometown of many other notable famous people in Chinese history, including poets Gu Kuang (727-816) , scholar Wang Guowei (1877-1927), mathematician Li Shanlan (1810-1882), etc.

In 1955, Cha published his first wuxia novel The Book and the Sword in the then-New Evening Post under his pen name Jin Yong.

Throughout his career he wrote a total of 15 popular wuxia novels. He stopped writing in 1972 with The Deer and the Cauldron.

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Cha was also the founder of Hong Kong’s famous Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao.

Cha graduated from the Law School of Suzhou in 1948. To help support himself during his studies, he began working as a journalist and translator in 1947 for the newspaper Ta Kung Pao in Shanghai. In 1948, he came to Hong Kong to work for the same paper’s Hong Kong office.

 

 

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