Thu, Nov 01, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Renowned ‘wuxia’ novelist Louis Cha dies in HK at 94

AFP, HONG KONG

Novelist Louis Cha pose in his office in North Point, Hong Kong, on May 16, 2008, in a photograph provided by the South China Morning Post yesterday.

Photo: AFP / South China Morning Post

Renowned Hong Kong author Louis Cha (查良鏞), whose epic martial arts thrillers inspired numerous films and sold about 300 million copies worldwide, has died aged 94.

Known by his pen name Jin Yong (金庸), Cha is a household name in the Chinese-speaking world — while overseas his novels have drawn parallels to the Lord of the Rings series.

Packed with hard-hitting kung fu masters and intricate plotlines, his books bring to life the different dynasties of ancient China.

They have given rise to TV dramas and video games, as well as dozens of movies.

Cha died in Hong Kong on Tuesday after a long illness.

Among his most famous works are The Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, The Deer and the Cauldron and Legends of the Condor Heroes, which was published in English for the first time in February.

Cha also founded a Chinese-language newspaper in Hong Kong in 1959, the Ming Pao.

He was “a learned man and an acclaimed writer,” Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) said, adding she felt “deep sorrow” over his death.

“Professor Cha’s works inherited the tradition of Chinese classics with the integration of history and culture,” she said, adding that his works were influential across the literary landscape.

Other glowing tributes were paid to the writer, with culture critic Oliver Chou telling the South China Morning Post that Cha could be compared to William Shakespeare.

Then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) “was said to have sent secret agents to get him a set of Cha’s novels in Hong Kong in the early 1980s,” Chou told the newspaper.

Hong Kong film star and singer Andy Lau (劉德華), who appeared in the TV adaptation of Legends of the Condor Heroes in the 1980s, described Cha’s death as a “huge loss,” the Straits Times newspaper reported.

Cha was born in China, but moved to Hong Kong before the Chinese Communist Party’s takeover of the country in 1949

In 2004, Cha was honored with France’s highest award for the arts, the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (the Order of Arts and Letters).

After years of denials, in a 2014 interview with New Yorker magazine, Cha admitted the allegories in his stories had political references.

“Master Hong of the Mystic Dragon Sect?” he said, referring to the antagonist of The Deer and the Cauldron. “Yes, yes — that means the [Chinese] Communist Party.”

Additional reporting by the Guardian

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