President Tsai presents the Order of Brilliant Star to late Hakka maestro

President Tsai Ing-wen presented the Order of Brilliant Star and a presidential citation to the late Hakka literary giant Chung Chao-cheng (鍾肇政) posthumously in recognition of his unconditional dedication to Taiwan literature at a memorial concert in Taoyuan City on June 14.

A number of government officials also attended the concert, including Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Culture Minister Lee Yung-te (李永得), Hakka Affairs Council (HAC) Minister Yiong Con-ziin (楊長鎮), and Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), paying their last respects to the esteemed writer and pioneer of Hakka activism who passed away on May 16.

In her speech, President Tsai stated that Chung had devoted himself to the Hakka movement since the Hakka Language Restoration Movement in 1988. Tsai said that he helped establish the Formosa Hakka Radio Station (客家寶島電臺), defended the rights of Hakka people, promoted Hakka language and culture, raised Hakka awareness, and put forward the idea of “neo-Hakka.” As a Hakka doyen, Chung will always be remembered as a role model due to his great contributions, President Tsai noted.

HAC Minister Yiong said that Chung is not only an irreplaceable novelist, who influenced a young generation of authors, but also a spiritual leader of Hakka activism, who advocated Taiwan’s democratization and localism. The minister expressed his gratitude to Chung for his lifelong commitment to the Hakka movement that inspired the whole nation.

Playing a trailblazing role in writing the roman-fleuve, Chung was the most prolific Hakka writer in post-war Taiwan. The movie named The Dull-Ice Flower (魯冰花), which was a household name in the 1980s, was adapted from Chungs novel. His river-novels "Muddy Water Trilogy (濁流三部曲)" and "Taiwanese Trilogy (臺灣人三部曲)" reflecting the change of the times on the island are of great literary value.

Chung spared no effort to promote Taiwan literature, boosting the writing morale in the literary scene and inspiring other prominent authors and emerging writers. He was also a key figure of the Hakka movement that has increased the visibility of Hakka ethnicity and restored the confidence of his own people.