Lung Ying-tai

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Lung.
Lung Ying-tai
Lung Ying-tai (2).jpg
1st Minister of Culture of the Republic of China
In office
20 May 2012 – 7 December 2014
Deputy George Hsu, Chang Yun-cheng, Lin Chin-tien
George Hsu, Hung Meng-chi, Lee Ying-ping
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Hung Meng-chi
Minister of Council for Cultural Affairs of the Republic of China
In office
6 February 2012 – 19 May 2012
Preceded by Ovid Tzeng
Succeeded by Position abolished
Personal details
Born 13 February 1952 (1952-02-13) (age 63)
Daliao, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Nationality  Republic of China
Political party Naval Jack of the Republic of China.svg Kuomintang
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 February 13, 1952 in Kaohsiung) is a Taiwanese essayist and cultural critic.[1] She occasionally writes under the pen name 'Hu Meili' (胡美麗).[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 was the Minister of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of China in 2012-2014.[5]

Early life[edit]

Lung's father, Lung Huai-sheng (龍槐生), was a Kuomintang soldier and the family had to escape to Taiwan after the KMT lost the civil war in China in 1949.[1] She is her parents' second child and has four brothers. The first character of Lung's given name, ying (應), is her mother's family name (Yin Mei-jun), and the second character, tai (台), is to signify that she is the first child in the family to be born in Taiwan.

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[6] and a Ph.D. from Kansas State University in English and American Literature.[7]

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. She moved to Germany in 1987,[8] partly due to the response to her work that included death threats.[9] 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.[10] 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.[7][11] 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".[9]

She returned to Taiwan to become the first Director of the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Taipei in September 1999,[8][9][12][13][14] 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."[15]

She joined the Journalism and Media Studies Centre of the University of Hong Kong in August 2004. 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] 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.[7] She received the 2009 K.T. Li Chair Professor Award from NCKU.[6]

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][16][17]

Upon the creation of the Ministry of Culture in May 2012 she became the first Minister of Culture of Taiwan.[18][19][20]

ROC Culture Ministry[edit]

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

MOC inauguration[edit]

During the inauguration ceremony of the establishment of the ROC Ministry of Culture (MOC) on 21 May 2012, Lung hoped that culture will not serve politics, but will be served by politics. She hoped that MOC shall be independent so that it can withstand political influence and carry out cultural work.[21]

Taiwanese low reading habit[edit]

In March 2013, Lung presented a report at the Executive Yuan on strategies to boost Taiwan's publishing industries. This is due to the lack of interest in reading among Taiwanese and the interest is still declining.[22]

I Am A Singer TV show[edit]

In mid April 2013, Lung said that the ROC Ministry of Culture will create a better environment for local Taiwanese artists and to help them to shine on international stage, responding to the growing popularity of I Am A Singer (我是歌手) TV music contest show from Hunan in Taiwan. She said that although it shows the growing investment made by the Chinese mainland in pop culture show and show business talent areas, it also reflects the strength and popularity of Taiwanese singers due to the popular usage of their songs by the Chinese mainland singers.[23]

Reciprocal cross-strait television broadcaster landing rights[edit]

Speaking at Legislative Yuan in end of April 2013 in commenting on Beijing-based China Central Television and Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television plan to have right to broadcast in Taiwan, Lung said that Beijing needs also to give the landing rights for Taiwanese television network in Mainland China, because reciprocity is important. If this can't be realized, then there is no basis for discussion regarding the issues.[24][25]

Cross-strait cultural exchanges[edit]

In mid of May 2013, Lung said that the MOC is planning to establish "official-to-official authority" platform with Mainland China for any cross-strait cultural exchange matter. If everything goes as plan, the MOC will held a cross-strait cultural forum in Taipei in September 2013. She said that is she concerns about the intellectual property rights (IPR) and censorship system practiced by Beijing, adding that Taiwanese creative industries and cultural sectors might face difficulties in penetrating markets there.

She will urge the Mainland counterpart to enhance transparency in publication and film censorship, strengthen IPR protection, push Beijing to exempt non-ideological cultural products of Taiwan from censorship and allow their launch in several Mainland cities and experimental zones without restrictions. She also looks forward to inviting PRC Ministry of Culture Cai Wu to visit Taiwan.[26]

Public Television Service Foundation[edit]

In end of May 2013, Lung said that the Public Television Service Foundation (PTS) was the biggest international scandal Taiwan has ever had because dispute over PTS board has been blocking many of the public broadcasting policy. She even agreed if the PTS were to be abolished if there is no solution to the dispute.[27]


On 1 December 2014, Lung tendered her resignation from the ministerial post citing her aging mother as the main reason and that hostile politics and media had worn her down. Before stepping down, she appealed to the public to give more encouragement to good government workers to inspire them to give better results from the hard-working civil servants, and that strong civil service is the key to the progress of society. She plans to continue writing after her retirement from politics and to continue caring about the progress of society.[28]

Personal life[edit]

After moving to Germany in the late 1980s, she married a German man with whom she has two sons.[9] She was also known as Ying-tai Walther.[2] They were eventually divorced.[citation needed] 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.[29]


  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. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ 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. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c Chen, Elaine. 向胡錦濤嗆聲的心路歷程. Business Week (in Chinese). Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Chu, Monique (4 September 1999). "Writer appointed cultural head". Taipei Times. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ Snyder, Charles (10 December 2006). "Lung Ying-tai slams Taiwan's isolation". Taipei Times. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  11. ^ Luard, Tim (23 February 2006). "China's censored media answers back". BBC News. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  12. ^ "Asiens Öffnung zur Welt - Gespräch mit Lung Ying-tai, Kulturdirektorin der Stadt Taipeh". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German) (Switzerland). 11 August 2001. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  13. ^ "Editorial: Culture and politics inseparable". Taipei Times. 15 May 2000. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  14. ^ Shu-ling, Ko (2 August 2000). "Cultural Affairs Bureau takes over art museum". Taipei Times. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  15. ^ Huang, Sandy (20 March 2003). "Taipei's cultural head makes good with two books". Taipei Times. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  16. ^ "Lung Ying-tai becomes an internet pariah in China". China Free Press. 18 September 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  17. ^ Ping, Wan (22 September 2009). "A History of 60 Years of China, Banned on Communists’ 60th Anniversary". Epoch Times. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  18. ^ Smith, Charlie (28 August 2012). "Taiwan's culture minister Lung Ying-tai negotiates with Chinese government that banned her bestseller". Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "Taiwan's Ministry of Culture History". Official site. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  20. ^ "Taiwan's Minister of Culture". Official site. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
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  29. ^ Yan, Tay Tian (14 January 2008). "Mother And Son And Life". Sin Chew. Soong Phui Jee (trans.). Retrieved 30 January 2010. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ovid Tzeng
Minister of the Council for Cultural Affairs
6 February 2012 - 19 May 2012
Succeeded by
as Minister of Culture
Preceded by
as Minister of Council for Cultural Affairs
Minister of Culture
20 May 2012 - present
Succeeded by