Writer-turned-politician Wang Tuoh died Tuesday morning surrounded by his family. Wang was 72.
Wang’s son said his father was hospitalized 12 days ago for cardiac arrest.
Wang was born in Taiwan’s northern port city of Keelung in 1944. Before he waded into the political arena, he was a writer. His most well-known novels, “Aunt Jinshui” and “Wang jun zao gui,” describes the real life of local working populace, a theme that was later transformed into his political belief and platform to speak for the underprivileged.
However, Wang’s native and realistic writing style in the 70’s ran counter to the then bureaucratic ideology. Wang, who was thrust into the vortex of democratic struggle at the time, was arrested and imprisoned for his implication in the Formosa Incident, a pro-democracy demonstration that was cracked down and prosecuted by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government in 1979.
Considering the stringent political climate of the time, Wang said he was prepared for the worst. When serving his time, Wang continued to write and finished some children’s literature works and novels.
After he finished his jail term, Wang became an elected official and served as DPP legislator, laying political foundation for the party in Keelung.
After the DPP lost the presidential election in 2008, Wang became the DPP’s first unpaid secretary general. He was said to have slimmed down the party’s personnel and interceded in the party’s infighting following the political defeat. The DPP said in a statement that during his term as the party’s secretary general, Wang paid back the party’s NT$150 million debt by practicing thrift.
After his retirement from the politics, Wang went back to writing and had recently finished a trilogy of Taiwan’s democratic movement, which he wished can be both published and made into a movie.
Commenting on Wang’s passing away, DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang said, “There will be no longer people like him.”
President Tsai Ing-wen said Wang’s passing away is saddening and his spirit of continuing to strive for a better Taiwan is a good model for all Taiwanese people to follow.
Even opposition KMT’s Central Policy Committee director Alex Tsai praised Wang’s integrity and outstanding literary works, and paid tribute to the “gentleman in the green camp.”