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Chen Yingzhen and his wife in <a href="/content/Taipei" style="color:blue">Taipei</a>, March 2003
Chen Yingzhen and his wife in Taipei, March 2003

Chen Yingzhen (Chinese: 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]

Biography


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]

Style


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]

Thought


Chen was a supporter of the notion of a unifying Chinese national identity in Taiwan, as opposed to "nativist" writers like Zhang Liangze, 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]

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