Kung fu novelist Jin Yong to receive honorary degree


Tue, May 08, 2007 - Page 2

Hong Kong-based kung fu novelist Jin Yong (金庸), whose knight-errant novels are devoured by Chinese readers around the world, is scheduled to come to Taipei next Friday, mainly to receive an honorary doctorate from a local university, a publishing source said yesterday.

The 83-year-old Jin Yong will receive an honorary doctorate by National Chengchi University (NCCU) in recognition of his outstanding long-term contribution to Chinese-language writing and literature, as well as his assiduous attitude toward learning.

Jin Yong will be one of three people to be awarded honorary doctorates in an event marking NCCU's 80th anniversary. The other two are Cloud Gate Dance Theater founder Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀).

Jin Yong, whose real name is Louis Liang-yung Cha (查良鏞), entered the Diplomacy Department of the Central Academy of Political Science in 1944 in China.

Shanghai-born Jin Yong -- Hong Kong's most eminent man of letters -- has written 15 best-selling martial arts novels, most of which have been adapted for film and television.

The soft-spoken Chinese writer is renowned not only as the author of 15 kung fu novels but as a veteran reporter, publisher and political commentator. He founded Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper and its sister publications.

A man of letters who is also an expert in law, history and Buddhism, Jin Yong received an honorary doctorate from Cambridge University in 2005. He applied to attend the history institute of Cambridge the same year, with David McMullen as his mentor.

Jin Yong is scheduled to receive his master's degree from Cambridge May 12 before heading to Taiwan for the NCCU honorary doctorate.

His 15 novels, written between 1955 and 1972, are considered more than just kung fu stories. Their pages burst with fantastic knight-errant tales of heroic swordsmen and beautiful heroines, intermingling romance, tragedy and comedy with Chinese and religious values.

Universities around the Chinese-speaking world have formed Jin Yong fan clubs, sponsored seminars or opened classes on his classic novels.

Chinese readers can immerse themselves in their cultural heritage by appreciating the language, calligraphy, arts, music, traditional costumes, cuisine and martial arts that they read about in the novels. Traditional Chinese culture, fantasy and history form the colorful backdrops for his works.