Government leaders mourn death of Hakka literary giant Chung Chao-cheng

Hakka literary luminary Chung Chao-cheng (鍾肇政) passed away in Taoyuan on May 16 at the age of 95. President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her heartfelt condolences on her Facebook page over the death of the prominent writer.

Apart from Hakka Affairs Council (HAC) Minister Lee Yung-de, a number of government officials, including Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君), and Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), paid tribute to the beloved novelist and offered their sympathies to his family in Longtan District, Taoyuan City on May 17.

Premier Su lauded Chung’s achievements in Taiwan’s nativist literature, Hakka culture, and the country’s democratization. Despite his high status in the Taiwanese literary world, Chung always encouraged and supported younger-generation writers, Su said, adding that, as a Hakka doyen, Chung brought the Hakka community together with his dedicated spirit and deep love for the homeland.

Chung’s active participation in public affairs also contributed to the democratic development of Taiwan, the Premier said. Su emphasized that Chung’s contribution to constructing and unifying this beautiful nation can never be ignored.

HAC Minister Lee said that Chung was an author with strong Hakka awareness who has changed the literary landscape in Taiwan. Lee recalled sobering remarks by Chung that once the Hakka language dies out, the whole ethnic group will disappear. What Chung said awakened Taiwan’s public attention to the Hakka community, Lee noted, adding that through Chung’s influence, Hakka culture has taken deeper roots. The minister extended his gratitude to Chung for making Taiwan the only country in the world that has sound Hakka policies.

Playing a trailblazing role in writing the roman-fleuve, Chung was the most prolific Hakka writer in post-war Taiwan. In addition to encouraging his contemporaries to keep writing, Chung also cultivated many young Hakka talents and promoted Taiwan’s nativist literature. Due to his peerless creativity, Chung was hailed as the greatest Taiwanese author of his generation.