Wang Tuoh

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Wang Tuoh
2008TIBE Day1 Hall1 Opening TouhWang.jpg
Secretary-General of the Democratic Progressive Party
In office
20 May 2008 – 20 May 2009
ChairpersonTsai Ing-wen
Preceded byLee Ying-yuan
Succeeded byWu Nai-ren
Minister of the Council for Cultural Affairs
In office
1 February 2008 – 19 May 2008
DeputyWu Chin-fa
Preceded byWong Chin-chu
Succeeded byHuang Pi-twan
Member of the Legislative Yuan
In office
1 February 1999 – 31 January 2008
Succeeded byGeorge Hsieh
In office
1 February 1996 – 31 January 1999
ConstituencyRepublic of China
Personal details
Born(1944-01-09)9 January 1944
Keelung, Taihoku Prefecture, Empire of Japan
Died9 August 2016(2016-08-09) (aged 72)
Taipei, Taiwan
Political partyDemocratic Progressive Party
Alma materNational Taiwan Normal University
National Chengchi University
ProfessionWriter, philologist

Wang Tuoh (Chinese: 王拓; pinyin: Wáng Tuò; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Ông Thok; 9 January 1944 – 9 August 2016) was a Taiwanese writer, public intellectual, literary critic, and politician. He was born in Badouzi (八斗子), then a small fishing village near the northern port city of Keelung. His name was originally Wang Hung-chiu (王紘久).

Writing career[edit]

Wang Tuoh published his first short story, The Hanging Tree in 1970, and went on to write a series of stories set in his home village of Badouzi that drew heavily on his own experiences in a small, insular village where everyone is part of a larger family that has been there for five generations. The most well-known of these stories is the novella Auntie Jinshui (金水嬸; published September 1976) which describes the story of the eponymous Auntie Jinshui. Auntie Jinshui is a street peddler who has successfully raised and educated six sons, but falls upon especially hard times after being swindled by a priest introduced to her by one of her sons. She then falls behind on her payments to her Hui (會), an informal village credit network, and finds herself gradually ostracized from her friends and family. This novella was also later made into a movie.

His novels are The Story of Cowbelly Harbor (牛肚港的故事; published 1982) and Taipei, Taipei! (台北,台北!; published 1983), both written while he was in jail as a political prisoner.

Political career[edit]

After being freed from prison in 1984, he joined the political opposition to the ruling Kuomintang and in 1995 was elected to Taiwan's Legislative Yuan as a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member for Keelung City. Wang formed an alliance with the DPP's Formosa faction, which disbanded after its leader Hsu Hsing-liang left the party. In 2002, Wang became a member of the Justice faction.[1]

Wang was nominated by the DPP to run for Keelung City mayor in 2005.[2] After contentious discussions with the Taiwan Solidarity Union, the DPP agreed to withdraw Wang's nomination to support the TSU's Chen Chien-ming.[3][4] However, Wang remained on the ballot, and finished fourth in the election.[5]

2005 Keelung City Mayoralty Election Result
No. Candidate Party Votes
1 Chen Chien-ming Sunrise Island.svg TSU 58,243
2 Hsu Tsai-li Emblem of the Kuomintang.svg KMT 76,162
3 Liu Wen-hsiung LogoPFP.svg PFP 47,932
4 Wang Tuoh Green Taiwan in White Cross.svg DPP 2,771

Commenting on the 2007 summit between South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, Wang noted that their talks offered a model for negotiations between China and Taiwan held on an equal footing and based on mutual respect.[6] Lamenting that China refuses to recognise Taiwan as a sovereign, independent state, he urged China to support a bid for UN recognition for Taiwan also called for the removal of the 900 Chinese missiles deployed along its southeastern coast that threaten Taiwan militarily.[6]

After losing his seat in the legislature in January 2008, Wang was appointed chairman of the Council for Cultural Affairs, a cabinet-level position.[7] From this position, Wang pushed for substantial increases to the culture budget.[8] In May 2008, Wang was appointed by chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen to serve as the Secretary General of the DPP. In taking on the position, Wang chose not to be paid. He helped the party out of a NT$150 million debt, while reducing its bureaucracy and infighting shortly after the 2008 elections.[9]

Wang died in Taipei on 9 August 2016 at the age of 72, due to complications of a heart attack.[10][11] His funeral was held on 6 September.[12]


  1. ^ Hsu, Crystal (24 February 2002). "Wang says DPP sticks together". Taipei Times. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  2. ^ Huang, Jewel (31 August 2005). "DPP won't field candidates in several year-end races". Taipei Times.
  3. ^ Huang, Jewel (6 October 2005). "Year-end polls take shape for pan-greens". Taipei Times. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  4. ^ Huang, Jewel (4 October 2005). "DPP gives up Keelung race for TSU". Taipei Times. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  5. ^ Chang, Rich (30 November 2005). "Keelung race comes down to split blue vote". Taipei Times. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Wang Tuoh says Korean summit offers inspiration". Taipei Times. October 4, 2007. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  7. ^ Hsiu-chuan, S. (February 1, 2008). "Former legislators who lost their seats recruited to Cabinet". Taipei Times. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  8. ^ Lok-sin, L. (February 15, 2008). "Culture chief vows to push bill to help performing groups". Taipei Times. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  9. ^ Liao, George (9 August 2016). "Writer-turned-politician Wang Tuoh has died, 72". Taiwan News. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  10. ^ Chung, Li-hua; Chung, Jake (10 August 2016). "Writer, former legislator Wang Tuoh dies at 72". Taipei Times. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  11. ^ Lu, Hsin-hui; Cheng, Sabine; Wen, Kuei-hsiang; Liu, Claudia; Hou, Elaine (9 August 2016). "Renowned Taiwanese writer, politician Wang Tuoh dies at 72". Central News Agency. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  12. ^ Lu, Hsin-hui; Huang, Romulo (7 September 2016). "President Tsai pledges to strive for cross-party cooperation". Central News Agency. Retrieved 7 September 2016.