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A novel luminary of martial arts stories

By ZHANG KUN | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-30 08:57

The late martial arts novelist Jin Yong, or Louis Cha Leung-yung (1924-2018). [Photo provided to China Daily]

Celebrations are commemorating the 100th birth anniversary of well-known wuxia author Jin Yong, Zhang Kun reports in Shanghai.

This year marks the centennial of the birth of Jin Yong, one of the most popular authors in China, who raised wuxia, a martial arts fiction genre, to such an artistic level that readers and academics launched a petition in the 2010s for him to become a Nobel Prize candidate.

Sometimes referred to as the "Chinese J.R.R. Tolkien", Jin Yong is the pen name of Louis Cha Leung-yung (1924-2018), PhD. His acclaim hails from 15 wuxia novels and short stories he wrote from 1955 to 1972 that have sold millions of copies worldwide.

"Whichever corner of the world you are in, you will find Jin Yong's books as long as there are Chinese people around," says Zhang Donghe, head of the publicity department of Jiaxing city, Zhejiang province.

At the public forum commemorating his centennial birthday that took place in Jiaxing on March 11, scholars and readers recalled signing, or declining to sign, the petition asking the Swedish Academy to consider Jin Yong for the Nobel Prize in literature.

Chen Mo, a researcher of Jin Yong's novels, says he declined to sign it, because it's unfair to view the Nobel Prize as the ultimate recognition of a writer's achievements, and Jin Yong has made such a great impact that his name would remain indelible in China's literary history for centuries to come.

Jin Yong was born in 1924 to an esteemed family in Haining, a county-level city under the administration of Jiaxing. The Cha family produced many scholars, high-ranking officials and talented creatives across centuries. Jin Yong spent his childhood and teenage years in Haining, Jiaxing, Quzhou and other parts of Zhejiang before moving to Hong Kong, where he spent most of his life and built his career as a journalist, novelist, publisher and political commentator.

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