December 11, 2018

Wuxia literature and cinema, an essential part of Hong Kong identity

On the picture portrait and works of Jin Yong.

Chinese martial arts, often named under the umbrella term of wushu or kung fu, involve exercising the mind as well as the body, a strenuous and continued effort devoted to one’s pursuit.

Special Representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Union, Ms Shirley Lam (centre), presents copies of the works of Jin Yong to Ms Benedicte Vaerman, Collection Expert China of KU Leuven Libraries Artes, and to Professor Dr Guido Van Huylenbroeck of the University of Gent.

This resonates with the Hong Kong spirit – strive for perfection, never give up, and at the same time, be skillful and flexible in facing challenges. Wuxia literature has a long history.

Xia were soldiers originally fighting for one of the contending Warring States, who later became knights-errant of the common people, fighting against injustice and corruption.

Athletes from the Hong Kong Wushu Union recreate a scene from one of Jin Yong’s martial arts novels.

The genre was revived in Hong Kong in the 1950s and flourished there, alongside the cinema it inspired. Louis Cha published his first martial arts novel, The Book and the Sword, in 1955 under the pen name Jin Yong.

It was a huge success and he went on to write a total of 14 novels and one short story which have deeply influenced the popular culture of Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan and Macao. The Hong Kong Heritage Museum honoured Dr Cha by opening a Jin Yong Gallery earlier this year (



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