Lung Ying-tai

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Lung Ying-tai
Lung Ying-tai (2).jpg
1st Minister of Culture of the Republic of China
(Minister of Council for Cultural Affairs until 19 May 2012)
In office
6 February 2012 – 7 December 2014
Deputy George Hsu, Chang Yun-cheng, Lin Chin-tien
George Hsu, Hung Meng-chi, Lee Ying-ping
Preceded by Ovid Tzeng
Lin Chin-tian (acting)
Succeeded by Hung Meng-chi
Personal details
Born (1952-02-13) 13 February 1952 (age 66)
Daliao, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Nationality Republic of China
Children Two sons (including Andreas Walther)
Alma mater Taiwan Provincial Cheng Kung University
Kansas State University

Lung Ying-tai (traditional Chinese: 龍應台; simplified Chinese: 龙应台; pinyin: Lóng Yìngtái) (born 13 February 1952 in Kaohsiung) is a Taiwanese essayist and cultural critic.[1] She occasionally writes under the pen name 'Hu Meili' (胡美麗; 胡美丽; Hú Měilì).[2] Lung's poignant and critical essays contributed to the democratization of Taiwan[1] and as the only Taiwanese writer with a column in major mainland Chinese newspapers, she is an influential writer in Mainland China. She has written 17 books.[3][4]

Lung Ying-tai has held two positions within Taiwan’s government as Taipei’s first Cultural Bureau Chief (1999-2003)[5] and as Taiwan’s first Culture Minister (2012-2014).[6]

Early life[edit]

Lung's father, Lung Huai-sheng (龍槐生), a Kuomintang military police officer, moved his family to Taiwan after the KMT lost the Chinese Civil War in 1949.[1] She is her parents' second child and has four brothers. The first character of Lung's given name, ying (), is her mother's family name (應美君 Ying Mei-jun), and the second character, tai (), is to signify that she is the first child in the family to be born in Taiwan.[citation needed]

After attending National Tainan Girls' Senior High School, Lung received her bachelor's degree in Foreign Language and Literature from the National Cheng Kung University[7] and a Ph.D. from Kansas State University in English and American Literature.[8]

Early career[edit]

After returning to Taiwan, she began writing an op-ed column in China Times on the various conditions in Taiwan. Her essays were published together in 1985 in a book of social-political criticism, "The Wild Fire," (Ye Huo Ji 野火集) when Taiwan was still under the Kuomintang’s one-party rule, which cemented her role as an intellectual in Taiwan.[citation needed] She moved to Germany in 1987,[9] partly due to the response to her work that included death threats.[10] Her translated essays had appeared in European newspapers such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Her work has appeared in mainland Chinese newspapers since the early 1990s.[11] Her essays include "Children Take Your Time," "Silver Cactus", "Rise of thinking," and in 2006, "Please Use Civilization to Convince Me", an open letter to Hu Jintao following the temporary closure of Freezing Point.[8][12] She criticised Singaporean minister Lee Kuan Yew and the government's restrictions on personal freedom in 1994 in an article titled, "Thank God I Am Not Singaporean".[10]

She returned to Taiwan to become the first Director of the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Taipei in September 1999,[9][10][13][14][15] and her policies increased the visibility of the arts in Taipei during her four-year term.[3] She resigned in March 2003 to return to writing, noting that "being an official is suffocating. I could hardly breathe."[16]

She joined the Journalism and Media Studies Centre of the University of Hong Kong in August 2004.[citation needed] In July 2005, she established the Lung Ying-tai Cultural Foundation and used the foundation as a platform to sponsor literary and artistic endeavours as well as academic lectures.[3] In 2007, Lung was offered a position on the seat on the Control Yuanm which she refused.[17] Since 2008 Lung Ying-tai has undertaken the position of Hung Leung Hao Ling Distinguished Fellow in Humanities of University of Hong Kong[4] and Chair Professor of National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan.[8] She received the 2009 K.T. Li Chair Professor Award from NCKU.[7]

Her 2009 book "Da Jiang Da Hai 1949" ("Big River, Big Sea — Untold Stories of 1949") is about the 1949 civil war and the escape to Taiwan of supporters of the Kuomintang.[1] It sold over 100,000 copies in Taiwan and 10,000 in Hong Kong in its first month of release, but discussion of her work was banned in mainland China following the book launch.[1][18][19]

In 2009, her book "Watching You Go"(Musong目送)was published . This book is popular in Asia once it published.

Upon the creation of the Ministry of Culture in May 2012 she became the first Minister of Culture of Taiwan.[20][21][22]

Minister of Culture[edit]

Minister Lung during the Free China Boat Homecoming Ceremony in Zhongshan Hall on 11 July 2012.

Lung was inaugurated as Minister of Culture on 21 May 2012, stating a desire that the ministry be independent of political influence.[23] During her 2 year, 7 month tenure, she made statements or announced initiatives on reading,[24] TV culture,[25] and cross-strait exchanges.[26][27] On 1 December 2014, Lung tendered her resignation from the ministerial post citing her aging mother as the main reason, with political and media hostility as contributing factors.[28]

Personal life[edit]

After moving to Germany in the late 1980s, she married a German man with whom she has two sons.[10] She was also known as Ying-tai Walther.[2] They were eventually divorced.[29] One of Lung's books, Dear Andreas (《親愛的安德烈》), is a collection of letters and e-mails between her and her older son.[30]


  1. ^ a b c d e Yu, Verna (5 October 2009). "Untold Stories of China and Taiwan". New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Wu, Helen Xiaoyan (2004). "Long Yingtai". In Edward L. Davis. Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. Routledge. ISBN 0-203-64506-5. 
  3. ^ a b c Buchan, Noah (2 March 2007). "Making rebels with a cause". Taipei Times. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Adjuncts". Journalism and Media Studies Center. Hong Kong University. Archived from the original on 18 April 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  5. ^ 中華民國文化部-歷任首長 [Cultural Bureau: Historical chiefs]. 10 October 2008. 
  6. ^ "Culture minister resigns; says preliminary mission accomplished - Culture - FOCUS TAIWAN - CNA ENGLISH NEWS". 
  7. ^ a b "Academician Paul Chu and Prof. Ying-Tai Lung Honored with K.T. Li Chair Professor Award by NCKU". National Cheng Kung University. 10 November 2009. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c Chen, Elaine. 向胡錦濤嗆聲的心路歷程. Business Week (in Chinese). Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Chu, Monique (4 September 1999). "Writer appointed cultural head". Taipei Times. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c d Ling, Connie (2001). "Former Taiwan Social Critic Works To Promote Taipei's Urban Culture". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  11. ^ Snyder, Charles (10 December 2006). "Lung Ying-tai slams Taiwan's isolation". Taipei Times. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  12. ^ Luard, Tim (23 February 2006). "China's censored media answers back". BBC News. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  13. ^ "Asiens Öffnung zur Welt - Gespräch mit Lung Ying-tai, Kulturdirektorin der Stadt Taipeh". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). Switzerland. 11 August 2001. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  14. ^ "Editorial: Culture and politics inseparable". Taipei Times. 15 May 2000. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  15. ^ Shu-ling, Ko (2 August 2000). "Cultural Affairs Bureau takes over art museum". Taipei Times. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  16. ^ Huang, Sandy (20 March 2003). "Taipei's cultural head makes good with two books". Taipei Times. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  17. ^ Mo, Yan-chih; Shih, Hsiu-chuan (8 March 2007). "KMT sets list of Control Yuan candidates". Taipei Times. Retrieved 3 August 2017. 
  18. ^ "Lung Ying-tai becomes an internet pariah in China". China Free Press. 18 September 2009. Archived from the original on 7 May 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  19. ^ Ping, Wan (22 September 2009). "A History of 60 Years of China, Banned on Communists' 60th Anniversary". Epoch Times. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  20. ^ Smith, Charlie (28 August 2012). "Taiwan's culture minister Lung Ying-tai negotiates with Chinese government that banned her bestseller". Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  21. ^ "Taiwan's Ministry of Culture History". Official site. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  22. ^ "Taiwan's Minister of Culture". Official site. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  23. ^ "New Ministry of Culture opened - Taipei Times". 
  24. ^ "Nation's reading habits cause worry - Taipei Times". 
  25. ^ "Culture minister urges soft power boost - Taipei Times". 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Minister hopes for creative boost - Taipei Times". 
  28. ^ "The smiles and sighs of Taiwan's first culture minister - Feature - FOCUS TAIWAN - CNA ENGLISH NEWS". 
  29. ^ "龍應台新書 坦承與德籍丈夫離婚 (Lung Ying-tai admits to divorcing German husband in new book)". TVBS News. TVBS. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
  30. ^ Yan, Tay Tian (14 January 2008). "Mother And Son And Life". Sin Chew. Soong Phui Jee (trans.). Retrieved 30 January 2010. 

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