By: Annie Huang, Associated Press Writer
(AP) Yu Chi-chung, founder of Taiwan’s China Times Group of newspapers and a strong advocate of reunification with China, died of cancer on Tuesday, his media organization said. He was 92.
Yu died at his home in Taipei after battling liver and colon cancer for nearly a decade.
Born in 1910 in Jiangsu Province in eastern China, Yu followed Gen. Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists to Taiwan in 1949 after Chiang’s forces were defeated by the communists in a civil war.
Yu had since advocated reunification with China and wrote many editorials denouncing efforts to push for Taiwan’s formal independence.
“He died a frustrated patriot without seeing the light of day for a united China,” China Times said in an obituary.
Yu established Cheng Hsin News, a business tabloid, in Taiwan in 1950.
The paper was later renamed the China Times and the company has sprawled into one of Taiwan’s top three news organizations that also includes the Commercial Times business daily, the evening China Times Express, and a weekly magazine.
In Taiwan’s martial law era, Yu championed press freedom and exerted influence on politics as a member of the governing Nationalist Party’s policy-making Central Standing Committee.
In 1999, Yu traveled to Beijing and held a two-hour secret meeting with Chinese President Jiang Zemin to explore the possibility of unification. Yu never disclosed the contents of the meeting, and his endeavor was ill-timed because former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui soon angered China with his declaration that Taiwan and China enjoy a special state-to-state relationship.
China considers Taiwan part of its territory and Lee’s comments set off a major war of words between the two sides.
A graduate of China’s National Central University, Yu joined the Nationalist Chinese army to fight against invading Japanese troops in the 1930s. After Japan was defeated in 1945, Yu helped negotiate the recovery of Manchuria from occupying Soviet forces.
He retired several years ago, leaving his eldest son, Albert, to succeed him as China Times‘ publisher. A daughter, Alice, is publisher of the Commercial Times and China Times Express.
Yu is survived by his wife, Yu-hui, two sons and two daughters.