Li Ao

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For the philosopher, see Li Ao (philosopher).
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Li.
Li Ao
LiAoAtFayuansi.JPG
Li Ao at Fayuan Temple, 2005. Fayuansi is a temple in Beijing, as well as the main scene in his first novel, Martyr's Shrine.
Born (1935-04-25) 25 April 1935 (age 79)
Harbin, Heilongjiang
Alma mater National Taichung First Senior High School
Taiwan University
Spouse(s) Terry Hu (m. 1980–80)
Wang Zhihui 王志慧 (m.1992)
Children Hedy Wen Li 李文, born on (1964-09-22) 22 September 1964 (age 49)
Li Kan 李戡, born on (1992-08-03) 3 August 1992 (age 22)
Li Chen 李諶, born on (1994-11-23) 23 November 1994 (age 19)
Parents Li Dingyi 李鼎彝
Zhang Kuichen 張桂貞

Li Ao (Chinese: 李敖; pinyin: Lǐ Áo; born April 25, 1935), is a writer, social commentator, historian, and independent politician in the Republic of China (Taiwan).

He is considered by many to be one of the most important modern Chinese essayists today, although some critics have termed him as an intellectual narcissist. His political inclinations are more controversial; he is a very vocal critic of both the Kuomintang and the Democratic Progressive Party and their many politicians, including Chiang Kai-shek, Ma Ying-jeou and Chen Shui-bian. Although he favors unification, especially under "One Country, Two Systems", Li refuses to call himself a "Pan-Blue" due to its association with the Kuomintang. He firmly believes in Chinese nationalism and is given much media exposure in Taiwan due to his popularity as a writer.

Background[edit]

Li was born in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province to Li Dingyi (李鼎彝), a professor of Chinese, and Zhang Kuichen (張桂貞). His family has ancestry in Wei County (modern-day Weifang), Shandong Province, and Fuyu County, Jilin Province. The entire Li family, except for two children, moved to Taiwan at the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

Dissident writer[edit]

Li was credited for his contributions to the democratic movement in Taiwan between the 1960s and 1980s. In the 1960s, he was the editor-in-chief of Wenxing (文星), a magazine that promoted democracy and personal freedom. He was jailed by the Kuomintang government for more than five years (from 1972 to 1976, and again from 1981 to 1982) for helping a pro-Taiwan independence political prisoner, Peng Ming-min, escape to Japan in 1963. Ironically, Li had a long history of being an advocate of reunification.

Throughout the 1970s, Li received much international attention for his imprisonment. He was highlighted by Amnesty International as one of the three most important political prisoners in Taiwan in 1974.

After his release, Li continued to publish articles in magazines and newspapers, criticizing the Kuomintang government. Ninety-six of his books were banned in Taiwan until 1991. In the 1980s he also sponsored numerous anti-Kuomintang magazines.

His novel Mountaintop Love (《上山.上山.愛》), about a mother and a daughter who fall in love with the same man, though several years apart, established Li's status as a prominent novelist. His novel Martyrs' Shrine: The Story of the Reform Movement of 1898 in China (北京法源寺), is about the beginning and the failure of the Hundred Days' Reform. Li also published his autobiography in 2001, revealing more than ten of his romantic affairs. The bulk of his work, however, is non-fiction and consists mainly of essays and historical commentaries.

Entry into politics[edit]

Li strongly supports the idea of "One country, two systems" proposed by Deng Xiaoping. He believes that the unification of China is inevitable and at one point advocated immediate surrender of Taiwan to the PRC. He thinks that an immediate reunification is more beneficial for Taiwan. This, combined with his past as a political dissident and his witty writing style, has made him a popular figure among the supporters of Chinese reunification. It has also made him an unpopular figure among the supporters of Taiwan independence.

Li participated in the presidential election in 2000 as a candidate for the New Party. Li usually plays the role of a political gadfly, and his campaign was largely symbolic. He took the election as an opportunity to "educate" the people of Taiwan. Both Li and his party publicly encouraged people to vote for James Soong. During the presidential debates, Li even stated that he was not planning to vote for himself and that people should vote for Soong.

Since the 2000 presidential election, Li has bitterly spoken out against pro-independence Nobel laureate Yuan T. Lee, who publicly supported Chen Shui-bian. He has also accused former President Lee Teng-hui of corruption. In October 2004, Li ran in the December 11 legislative election as a non-partisan candidate of the South Taipei constituency, and was subsequently elected to be the last winning place. He took office as an independent legislator on February 1, 2005.

In February 2005, Li held a press conference, accusing the PFP leader, James Soong of having changed his opposition towards military weapons purchase from the United States under the influence of people of pro-American inclination, people with CIA backgrounds and arms traders who would receive kick-backs. Li threatened Soong that he would reveal the names of the people with CIA backgrounds, who were influencing Soong, to the general public unless Soong reverted to his previous opposition position.[1] PFP legislators dismissed the accusation and responded that Li Ao should reveal his evidence to support his story.[2]

Later that year, in June, Li claimed to the Taiwanese press that he had exclusive information from the CIA concerning the 3-19 shooting incident.[citation needed] He alleged that the real motive of the killer was to assassinate the Vice-President Annette Lu in order to garner sympathy votes for Chen Shui-bian, and that the killer had been condoned by the governing party for ulterior political reasons. After flashing several allegedly CIA-endorsed documents to reporters, he mailed them to Annette Lu, claiming that she needed to know the truth about the assassination attempt to the full extent.[citation needed]

On September 19, 2005, Li returned to Mainland China for the first time in 56 years.[citation needed] He was invited to give speeches at Peking University, Tsinghua University and Fudan University where he was warmly received, and the trip was claimed to have had significant impact on observers of Cross-Strait relations. His speech at Peking University was particularly noteworthy as Li publicly urged the Chinese Communist Party to protect the freedom of speech as laid down in the constitution of the PRC. He also praised the achievement of the CCP in bringing economic progress and prosperity; at one point he even alluded to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and took it as an example to sustain his point that freedom should be obtained through "cleverer" means, rather than mass revolutions that could result in numerous deaths.[3][4][5]

Li was a candidate for the 2006 Taipei Mayoral election, and is currently a candidate for the 2012 Legislative Yuan elections, campaigning in Taipei City District 8 under the People First Party (PFP) banner.Li also satirized Mao Zedong's Little Red Book in his article.

On October 24, 2006, Li sprayed tear gas and wielded a stun gun during a Legislative Yuan National Defense Committee meeting, forcing several members of the parliament to flee. He was attempting to stop debate on purchasing attack submarines and Patriot anti-aircraft missiles for $16 billion from the U.S.[6] He was also wearing the Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Li married a Taiwanese writer, translator and actress, Terry Hu, on May 6, 1980, but the couple divorced on August 28, 1980, after three months and twenty-six days of marriage.[8][9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 中廣新聞網 (February 24, 2005). "李敖警告宋楚瑜軍購別鬆手 否則爆出身邊CIA臥底". news.yam.com. Archived from the original on May 6, 2005. 
  2. ^ 中廣新聞網 (February 24, 2005). "親民黨立委:李敖有證據就直接講". news.yam.com. Archived from the original on May 6, 2005. 
  3. ^ China Lectured by Taiwan Ally, New York Times, September 23, 2005
  4. ^ Gadfly Taiwan writer calls for more academic freedom in address to mainland students, Associated Press, September 21, 2005
  5. ^ Li Ao's Speech At Beijing University, English translation
  6. ^ BBC News: Taiwan MP in 'tear gas' protest
  7. ^ News.163.com: Li Ao wears gas mask and sprays tear gas in Legislative Yuan (Chinese)
  8. ^ "难忘美人前妻胡因梦 李敖感性祝其生日快乐(图)" (in Chinese). Xinhuanet. Retrieved 2013. 
  9. ^ "李敖忆与前妻胡因梦旧情 揭上世纪台湾四大美女(图)" (in Chinese). CRL. Retrieved 2013. 

External links[edit]