Chen Yingzhen

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Chen Yingzhen
Chen Yingzhen and his wife in Taipei, March 2003
Chen Yingzhen and his wife in Taipei, March 2003
Native name 陳映真
Born Chen Yongshan (陳永善)
(1937-11-08)8 November 1937
Shinchiku Prefecture, Japanese Taiwan
Died 22 November 2016(2016-11-22) (aged 79)
Beijing, China
Occupation author
Language Chinese, English, Japanese
Nationality Taiwanese
Alma mater Cheng Kung Senior High School
Tamkang University
Period 1959–2016
Genre prose, novel
Subject left-wing politics, humanitarianism, Marxism, modernism
Literary movement Taiwan Nativist Literature
(m. 1977; his death 2016)

Chen Yingzhen (陳映真; 8 November 1937 – 22 November 2016) was a Taiwanese author. Chen is also notable for having served a prison sentence for "subversive activity" between 1968 and 1973. He was active as writer from the late 1950s until his death in 2016.

The Collected Works of Chen Yingzhen is 15 volumes long, and was published in 1988.[1] Some of his stories were also included in Lucien Miller's Exiles at Home.[2]


Chen Yingzhen was born Chen Yongshan in northern Taiwan,[3][4] the son of a devout Christian minister.[5] Despite this, he never was a Christian himself while growing up.[5] He was raised in what became Zhunan, Miaoli, with a twin brother, who died in 1946.[6] Chen was arrested in 1968 by the Kuomintang for "leading procommunist activities", and was imprisoned until 1973.[5] Chen was again imprisoned in 1979, shortly before the Kaohsiung Incident.[3] He died in Beijing on 22 November 2016 at the age of 79 following a long illness.[4]


Some critics have seen Chen's work as featuring important moral dimensions while lacking technical proficiency. For example, Joseph S. M. Lau said of Chen, "his output is relatively small and his style is at times embarrassing, yet he is a very important writer... Almost alone among his contemporaries, he addresses himself to some of the most sensitive problems of his time."[7]


Chen was a supporter of the notion of a unifying Chinese national identity in Taiwan, as opposed to "nativist" writers like Zhang Liangze (zh), who support the development of a native Taiwanese consciousness.[8] Chen contributed to several journals as an editor and writer,[3][2] and was "regarded as Taiwan's utmost representative leftist intellectual."[9] Jeffrey C. Kinkley noted in 1990 that Chen was "considered by many Chinese readers and critics in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and overseas to be Taiwan's greatest author."[1]


  1. ^ a b Kinkley, Jeffrey C. (July 1990). "From Oppression to Dependency: Two Stages in the Fiction of Chen Yingzhen". Modern China. 16 (3): 243. doi:10.1177/009770049001600301. JSTOR 189226. 
  2. ^ a b Lupke, Christopher (23 November 2016). "Chen Yingzhen (1937-2016)". Ohio State University. Retrieved 8 August 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c Tsu, Jing. "Chen Yingzhen (1938– )". Routledge Encyclopedia of Moderism. doi:10.4324/9781135000356-REM1464-1. 
  4. ^ a b Chang, Shu-ling; Cheng, Sabine; Chang, S. C. (22 November 2016). "Minister, friends mourn death of writer Chen Ying-chen". Central News Agency. Retrieved 8 August 2018. 
  5. ^ a b c Wang, David Der-Wei (Autumn 1998). "Three Hungry Women". Boundary 2. Duke University Press. 25 (3): 66–67. doi:10.1525/california/9780520231405.001.0001. ISBN 9780520238732. JSTOR 303588. 
  6. ^ Xu, Nancan (2014). Translated by Liu, Petrus. "Back alleys: the creative journey of Chen Yingzhen". Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. 15 (3): 342–348. doi:10.1080/14649373.2014.950479. 
  7. ^ Quoted in Kinkley (1990), 243–244. See Kinkley, Jeffrey C. (July 1990). "From Oppression to Dependency: Two Stages in the Fiction of Chen Yingzhen". Modern China. 16 (3): 243–268. doi:10.1177/009770049001600301. JSTOR 189226. 
  8. ^ Kleeman, Faye Yuan (2003). Under an Imperial Sun: Japanese Colonial Literature of Taiwan and the South. University of Hawaii Press. p. 79. ISBN 0-8248-2592-6. 
  9. ^ Zheng, Hong-sheng (2014). "Chen Yingzhen and Taiwan's "sixties": self-realization of the postwar generation in Taiwan". Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. 15 (3): 455–476. doi:10.1080/14649373.2014.951514.