Chiung Yao

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Chiung Yao (瓊瑤)
Born Chen Che (陳喆)
(1938-04-20) April 20, 1938 (age 79)
Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Occupation novelist, screenwriter, lyricist and producer
Language Chinese
Nationality Republic of China (Taiwan)
Education high school
Period 1962–present
Subject romance
Notable work
  • 1st husband (m. 1959; div. 1964)
  • Ping Hsin-tao (m. 1979)
Children Chen Chung-wei, son
Chiung Yao
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Chen Che
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese

Chen Che (born 20 April 1938), best known by her pen name Chiung Yao (also romanized as Chung Yao and Qiong Yao), is a Chinese writer and producer based in Taiwan, often regarded as the most popular romance novelist in the Chinese-speaking world.[1] Her novels have been adapted into more than 100 films and TV dramas.[2]

Early life[edit]

Chen Che and her twin brother were born during the Second Sino-Japanese War in Chengdu, Sichuan, to parents fleeing Beiping (modern Beijing) which fell to Japanese troops in 1937. Both her father Chen Chi-ping (陳致平) and mother Yuan Xingshu (袁行恕) were highly educated. (Yuan Xingshu's cousins include Yuan Xiaoyuan, Yuan Jing and Yuan Xingpei.) In 1942, the family moved to Chen Chi-ping's hometown of Hengyang, Hunan to join Chen Che's grandfather Chen Moxi (陳墨西). In 1944, following the fall of Hengyang, the Chens survived an arduous journey to the provisional Chinese capital of Chongqing, during which they narrowly escaping death and rape several times.

In 1949, along with her family, she moved to Taiwan, where she attended the Affiliated Experimental Elementary School of University of Taipei (台北师范附小|) and Taipei Municipal Zhong Shan Girls High School (台北市立中山女子高级中学). At the age of 16, she published her first novel. During high school she had published over 200 articles. After graduation from high school and failure to enter college, she got married and became a housewife, and at the same time started her writing career. Her first novel, still often read today, is Chuangwai ("Outside the Window").[citation needed]

Chiung Yao's romance novels were very well received in Taiwan when they were first published, and by the 1990s she was also one of the best-selling authors on the mainland.[3] Film adaptations in the 1970s often featured Brigitte Lin, Joan Lin, Charlie Chin and/or Chin Han, who were then collectively known as the "Two Lins and Two Chins".

However her romance novels and film adaptions have also been criticized for their melodramatic plotlines[4][5] and extremely long-winded dialogues.[6]

In December 2014, Yao sued the producers of the television series The Palace: The Lost Daughter, claiming that the show was plagiarized from her 1993 book Meihualao (Plum Blossom Scar).[7]

Chiung Yao's readership and viewership are predominantly female, owing to the fact that her stories never mention serious sociopolitical issues[clarification needed] and always emphasize the feelings of young women.[8]

Works translated to English[edit]

Year Chinese title Translated English title Translator(s)
1962 情人谷 "Lover's Dale"[9] Tommy Lee
1963 追尋 "Wan-chun's Three Loves"
? "The Last Three Months"[10] C. K. Liu
1964 煙雨濛濛 Fire and Rain Mark Wilfer
1989 我的故事 [Ch. 3–4] "In the Old Family House" Ren Zhong, Yuzhi Yang[11]
[Ch. 4–26] Escape from Heng Yang: The Memoir of a Six-Year-Old Refugee Girl[12] Eugene Lo Wei

As lyricist[edit]

Chiung Yao has written Mandarin song lyrics for the following singers:

Lawsuit against Yu Zheng[edit]

On April 15, 2014, Chiung Yao released an open letter to China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television accusing television screenwriter and producer Yu Zheng of blatant plagiarism "unprecedented and beyond my endurance," seeking the immediate suspension of the broadcast of his TV series Palace 3: The Lost Daughter, which she alleged plagiarized from her 1992 novel Plum Blossom Scar (梅花烙). Yu denied the claim, saying he was a fan of Chiung Yao with no intention of angering her. On April 28, a team led by Wang Jun from Beijing-based Yingke Law Firm filed a plagiarism lawsuit against Yu.[13]

On December 5, Beijing Third Intermediate People's Court convened the case. Wang Hailin (汪海林), executive director of Chinese Television Series Screenwriter Association, testified as expert witness for Chiung Yao's camp.[14] On December 12, 109 Chinese screenwriters published a joint statement supporting Chiung Yao's lawsuit against Yu Zheng.[15] A day later, an additional 30 Chinese screenwriters made their support of Chiung Yao known.[16]

On December 25, the court ruled in Chiung Yao's favor, ordering 4 companies to stop distributing and broadcasting The Palace: The Lost Daughter, also demanding Yu Zheng to publicly apologize, and pay Chiung Yao ¥5 million (around $800,000). China Radio International called it a "landmark ruling".[17]


  1. ^ Ying, Li-hua (2010). Historical Dictionary of Modern Chinese Literature. The Scarecrow Press. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-8108-5516-8. 
  2. ^ "琼瑶作品及影视对应表". 
  3. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. (February 19, 1991). "A Taiwan Pop Singer Sways the Mainland". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ Xiao, Zhiwei; Zhang, Yingjin (2002). Encyclopaedia of Chinese Film. Routledge. ISBN 9781134745531. 
  5. ^ Yeh, Emilie Yueh-yu; Davis, Darrell William (2013). Taiwan Film Directors: A Treasure Island. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231502993. 
  6. ^ Feng, Jin (2013). Romancing the Internet: Producing and Consuming Chinese Web Romance. Brill. ISBN 9789004259720. 
  7. ^ Chou, Chou I-ling; Chen, Ted (25 December 2014). "Taiwanese novelist wins 5 million yuan in Beijing court case". Central News Agency. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  8. ^ Lee, Daw-ming (2013). Historical Dictionary of Taiwan Cinema. The Scarecrow Press. pp. 125–8. ISBN 978-0-8108-6792-5. 
  9. ^ Chiung Yao (January 1966). Translated by Tommy Lee. "Lover's Dale". Free China Review. 16 (1). 
  10. ^ Chiung Yao (August 1964). Translated by C. K. Liu. "The Last Three Months". Free China Review. 14 (8). 
  11. ^ Hometowns and Childhood. Long River Press. 2005. ISBN 1-59265-058-9. 
  12. ^ Chung Yao (2008). Escape from Heng Yang: The Memoir of a Six-Year-Old Refugee Girl. Translated by Eugene Lo Wei. Dorrance Publishing Company. ISBN 9780805977325. 
  13. ^ Chiung Yao Sues Yu Zheng for Plagiarism
  14. ^ 琼瑶告于正案首现"专家辅助" 行业内先于法律管理
  15. ^ 琼瑶诉于正抄袭 109名编剧联名支持
  16. ^ 继续声援! 又有30余位编剧支持琼瑶诉于正
  17. ^ "Court Supports Chiung Yao's Plagiarism Charges". 2014-12-25. 

External links[edit]