Anti-communist writer Hong Kong Voltaire Lee Yi dies at 86


Renowned Hong Kong writer Lee Yi died of illness in Taipei on October 5 at the age of 86. His daughter posted her obituary on her Facebook page. “Funeral arrangements will be announced shortly,” she said.

Hong Kong columnist Chip Tsao and academic Simon Shen noted that Li was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 and underwent heart surgery. Tsao described him as “Hong Kong’s Voltaire”.He was born in China, loved China, and later fell in love with China. Taiwan and Hong Kongfought the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and eventually died worried about the future of Hong Kong and China.

Shen candidly said Lee moved to Taiwan because of political changes in Hong Kong and that his death was indirectly caused by the Chinese Communist Party’s repressive regime and the Hong Kong National Security Law (HKNS). rice field.

Leftist in his youth, later anti-communist

Li Yi, whose real name is Li Bingyao, was born in 1936 in Guangzhou. In 1948 he moved to Hong Kong and completed his studies there. In 1970, Lee launched a left-wing magazine, The Seventies Monthly. He broke away from his leftist camp in 1981, renaming the magazine “The Nineties Monthly” and criticizing cross-strait relations between China and Taiwan. His stance became anti-communist.

Starting in 2007, he wrote editorials for the old newspaper Apple Daily, often openly criticizing the CCP. He said goodbye to his column in 2021, saying that implementing HKNSL was “a real pressure I’ve never encountered in my 60+ years of writing.”

Lee later moved to Taiwan and began writing posts on Facebook titled “Memoirs of a Loser”, in which he shared his views on the change in stance and the future of Hong Kong. Particular attention was paid to the situation of young people.

his last article evoked social movements in Hong Kong

Lee published his last article, “Memoirs of a Loser 0916,” on September 15. In 2019, a large-scale social movement began in Hong Kong, with more than one million people participating in the “anti-deportation law reform movement.” explained. In some marches, as a memory he “wanted to forget, but cannot.”

On June 30, 2020, the “HKNSL” was forcibly passed by the Chinese Communist Party government and published in the Official Gazette before the people of Hong Kong knew what the provisions were. Lee wrote, “The ending is tragic, but who can predict that it might not be a vital force in the future?”

He described it as the enlightenment of the Hong Kong people. “Force can restrain the action of an awakened person, but it cannot restrain this awakening.” He said it showed “where the hearts of the people are, a silent protest against authority.”

On September 19, Lee revealed that he had taken a break from updating “Loser Memoirs” due to illness, saying, “I’m fine. Don’t worry about me.”

From Chinese Communist Party Supporter to Promoter of Democracy and Freedom

Li was the representative of the liberal intellectuals in the overseas Chinese community.

In 1948 Lee followed his family to Hong Kong. He graduated from a left-wing school and believed in socialism. After that, he worked in the publishing and editorial department of Shanghai Shoju.

In 1956 Lee began contributing to newspapers and periodicals. In 1970, he founded and served as editor-in-chief of the left-wing magazine The Seventies Monthly. The magazine’s stance is cultural revolution with China Hot fishing movement. Lee united Taiwanese and Hong Kong students in the United States, but his magazine was considered a “bandit magazine” by the Taiwanese government at the time.

However, at the end of the 1976 Cultural Revolution, Lee became disillusioned with his youthful beliefs in socialism.

In 1979, The Monthly Seventies was banned by the Chinese Communist Party for reporting on the Wei Jingsheng incident and Deng Xiaoping’s anti-demonstrations.crazy. The Seventies Monthly published three editorials in a row questioning the Chinese Communist Party’s ban on magazines from entering China and publishing articles about the “privileged classes of the Chinese Communist Party.” In 1981, Mr. Lee announced his withdrawal from the Left. Wei Jingsheng is a Chinese democracy activist who was released after being jailed for medical reasons in 1995 as a result of high-level diplomacy by the United States. After his release he flew to Detroit.

In 1989, when the Tiananmen Square crackdown broke out in China and the government declared martial law and sent the People’s Liberation Army to occupy parts of central Beijing, protests were forcibly suppressed, killing thousands. Chinese social movements were suppressed, Chinese intellectuals fled abroad, and Li became disillusioned with Deng Xiaoping. He decided to break with the Chinese Communist Party, took his publications to Taiwan, and explored the path to democracy and freedom in China.

Li once interviewed editor-in-chief Xu Zhongcheng. wen wei poXu was persecuted and imprisoned by both Chinese. Nationalist Party (KMT) and CCP. Imprisoned in a Kuomintang and CCP prison, Xu came to a thought-provoking conclusion. However, imprisoned by the CCP, he lost his freedom of thought, and his relatives and friends cut ties with him and pretended not to know him.

80-year-old Lee moves to Taiwan

In 1997, after the transfer of Hong Kong’s sovereignty and the implementation of the One Country, Two Systems principle, Lee returned to his childhood home of Hong Kong.

Lee believed that intellectuals should have independent thought and freedom of expression. He disagreed with Hong Kong’s nationalism and believed that the object of resistance should be the CCP regime, not the Chinese people. He had been writing a column for ‘Apple Daily’ for 25 years, and even though he held different views than ‘Apple Daily’, he had the courage to say what he thought was right.

Another political and current affairs commentator, Ng Chi Sum, said that when Lee was writing for the Apple Daily during his tenure as editor-in-chief, his article was edited out even though the two had differing views. said it was posted without. Ng praised Lee as a very tolerant person.

In 2019, after the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill (AELAB) movement erupted in Hong Kong, the CCP forced the implementation of the National Security Law. Lee believed Hong Kong prospects were over, so he moved to Taiwan for safety.

Moving in his eighties and having to adapt to a new environment took a toll on his health. Shen candidly said that “the regime and HKNSL indirectly caused Lee’s death.”

Renowned Hong Kong current affairs commentator Tsao: “Hong Kong Voltaire”

Lee was born in China and loved China, but was forced to emigrate to Taiwan and Hong Kong in the 1990s, and eventually died worrying about Hong Kong and China. Renowned current affairs commentator Chip Tsao sees Lee as “Hong Kong’s Voltaire.”

Cao said Li was different from other social activists. He did not advocate independence for Hong Kong and Taiwan because he had a national identity with the Chinese. However, he advocated tolerance to dissent, defended freedom of speech, and hoped that China would have a multi-party democratic system and that those in power should be overseen by the press.

Lee hoped that China would be better and that the Chinese people would have a better life, but in his later years he found that hope seemed impossible. He could only provide spiritual support for the next generation in Taiwan and Hong Kong to find their own way.

“In his later years, he wrote an autobiography titled ‘Memoirs of a Loser’ in which he lamented the hardships of his life. But it was not the failure of his life, but the culture of the CCP,” he said. Tsao said.



Shan Ram