Louis Cha's martial arts classic to become 'required reading' for Beijing pupils

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 April, 2013, 6:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 April, 2013, 6:30pm

Renowned Hong Kong novelist Louis Cha Leung-yung – read by many Hongkongers growing up – will soon be incorporated as “required reading” for Beijing primary school students, the Beijing Evening News reported on Tuesday.

The 89-year-old Cha, better known by his pen name Jin Yong and as founder of Hong Kong daily Ming Pao, will have his 1957 martial arts classic, The Legend of the Condor Heroes added to the Chaoyang district library’s list of selected reading, the newspaper said.

The announcement was made to coincide with the International Children’s Book Day on April 2.

The wuxia novel will join a list of other foreign titles including JK Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise, Norwegian best-seller Sophie’s World and the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, to the list of 900 selected titles, according to the report.

Legend, the first instalment of the Condor Trilogy, is widely considered to be one the writer’s greatest masterpieces along with other titles such as The Book and the Sword (1955) and The Deer and the Cauldron (1969).

Cha’s literary works, many of which contain themes of chivalry, martial arts and patriotism, are among the most widely read in the Chinese-speaking world and have been translated into many languages.

Some of Cha’s works were banned on the mainland during the 1970s as they were thought to mock Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution. Ironically, Taiwan once banned his novels as well, billing them pro-Communist literature. Most of the bans were gone by the 1980s.