Hong Kong’s business, showbiz and political elite attend private vigil for legendary Chinese writer Louis Cha ‘Jin Yong’
- Floral wreaths were sent from present and past state leaders, including President Xi Jinping
- Cha, better known by his pen name Jin Yong, died on October 30 at age 94
The guestbook at a private service for Louis Cha Leung-yung at Hong Kong Funeral Home in North Point read like a who’s who of the city’s media, business, showbiz and political elite featuring lawmakers, officials, tycoons and actors.
Cha, better known by his pen name Jin Yong, died on October 30 at age 94. The funeral procession will take place on Tuesday morning at Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island.
Floral wreaths were sent from present and past state leaders, including President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, Li’s predecessors Wen Jiabao and Zhu Rongji, and current Vice-Premier Han Zheng.
Wreaths also came from former deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Chen Zuoer, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her predecessors, Tung Chee-hwa and Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.
Attending the service were legislator Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, former home affairs minister Tsang Tak-sing, fellow novelist and friend Ni Kuang, food critic Chua Lam and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma – a lifelong fan of Cha’s. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.
Ray Lui Leung-wai, who has starred in a number of television shows based on Cha’s novels showed up to pay respects to a man of “extraordinary talent”.
“The novels he wrote have given me a lot of happy and sad moments as I lived the days of my youth. My Chinese is good because I read a lot of them,” he said at the service.
Mainland Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming, who played Yang Guo in a 2006 remake of Cha’s The Return of the Condor Heroes, said it was an honour to have worked with Cha. He hoped for more opportunities to participate in adaptations of Cha’s work.
On the other side of the harbour, about 400 people queued to pay tribute to Cha at a public condolence point set up outside the Hong Kong Heritage Museum’s Jin Yong Gallery.
Before its 4pm opening, more than 100 people were queuing outside the Sha Tin museum.
Mourners entered in groups of three and wrote their messages in books laid on a white-clothed table decorated with two baskets of white flowers and photographs of Cha.
“I loved reading his novels, which I found very appealing,” said Yiu Ping-sing, a 48-year-old truck driver who took the day off and was first in line at about 1.30pm. “All Chinese people would read his works.”
Sam Sang from Zhejiang province, who lives in Hong Kong, said Cha’s works were a source of escapism during his days a student. “I got to see another world from a different perspective,” said Sang. “You could be inspired with fresh ideas from his works.”
The condolence point will be there until November 30.
Cha published his first martial arts novel, The Book and the Sword in 1955. Following its success, Cha went on to write 14 hugely popular martial arts novels. He also co-founded the Hong Kong Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao Daily News.
With more than 100 million copies sold worldwide and adapted into media ranging from films to video games, Cha was widely regarded as the most influential Chinese novelist of the 20th century.