Prominent figures pay their final respects to Chinese writer Jin Yong in Hong Kong

HONG KONG – The veritable Who’s Who of Hong Kong from the arts, business and political arenas have turned up to bid adieu to one of the most prolific Chinese writers of all time, Mr Louis Cha Leung Yung, better known by his pen name, Jin Yong.

Following a long illness, Mr Cha died at the age of 94 on Oct 30 at the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital surrounded by family.

On Monday, family and friends streamed in to Hong Kong Funeral Parlour located in North Point on the last day of the private wake, before Tuesday’s (Nov 13) funeral.

Some 150 to 200 journalists and TV crew gathered by the road just outside the building.

Numerous white flower wreaths adorned the building interior and lined its exterior. Those displayed prominently in the parlour on one side were from members of the Chinese government, including President Xi Jinping, premier Li Keqiang and vice-premier Han Zheng, who’s also in-charge of Hong Kong and Macau affairs, and former premier Zhu Rongji. On the other side lay wreaths from members of the Hong Kong government, including Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah, Financial Secretary Paul Chan and Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung.

Inside the parlour filled with lilies, there was the Chinese phrase “Yi Lan Zhong Sheng” or “a bird’s eye view of everyone” above Mr Cha’s photo. It was written by food critic Chua Lam.

Flanking the sides of the photo was a couplet weaved from the first word of the title of the books penned by Mr Cha.

Among those from the literary and arts scene who turned up to pay their last respects to the late newsman and writer was novelist Ni Kuang, who was accompanied by good friend Mr Chua.

Representatives from the business, political and entertainment worlds who turned up included Hong Kong lawmaker Regina Ip, famed Chinese opera actress Bak Sheut-sin, popular Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming, and acclaimed film directors Johnnie To and Ann Hui.

Alibaba’s co-founder Jack Ma was also there.

Mr Cha was born in 1924 in the southern Chinese province of Zhejiang and moved to Hong Kong in 1948.

He held several jobs including as a screenwriter, film critic and journalist.

In 1959, he set up the Hong Kong paper, Ming Pao Daily News.

Together with Axe Brand Universal Oil founder Leung Yun Chee, he also set up Shin Min Daily News, which was first published in Singapore on March 18, 1967.

Mr Cha wrote his first novel in 1955 which was an instant hit with Chinese readers, who were drawn to his works because of his vivid portrayal of characters, pugilistic codes and filial piety.

The famed writer went on to pen 14 more swashbuckling gongfu fantasies (15 in total) before putting his pen down in 1972 with The Deer And The Cauldron. His most popular trilogy, arguably, was The Legend Of The Condor Heroes.

Views are divided when it comes to the literary value of these works, even though they are highly popular – more than 300 million copies have been sold globally.

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