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Old 11th November 2010, 09:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Taiwan woman claims to see ghost of Koxinga's aide Chen Yonghua

A woman claimed the ghost of a Taiwanese folk hero's trusted aide came to her to demand that his tomb be repaired, local media reported.

The Chinese-language China Times newspaper recently reported that a young lady surnamed Lin saw a ghost wearing ancient Chinese armor during her trip to Tainan County's famous hot spring tourism attraction Guan Zi Lin.

She claimed that the ghost was none other than Chen Yonghua (陈永华), the right hand man and military advisor to Zheng Chengkong, or Koxinga.

Koxinga was worshiped as a hero and deity by Taiwanese people for ending 38 years of Dutch rule on the island in the 17th century, while Chen was his most famous advisor.

"I am Chen Yonghua. I have something important to tell your father, please ask him to come here to look for me," Lin claimed the ghost of Chen said to her.

The terrified Lin immediately called her father, who visited the site a day later.

The father and daughter took a whole morning until they finally found the tomb of Chen, which was covered by grass in the rural area near the tourism attraction.

The Lins paid respect to the tomb, and claimed that another supernatural intervention then took place.

"All of a sudden, my daughter spoke to me in a low-pitched male voice, as if she had been possessed," said Mr. Lin. "She said to me 'please see what you can do to fix my tomb because it is broken and covered with grass."

After uttered the words, the younger Lin reportedly came to her senses and did not remember what had happened.

After being asked the favor, the older Lin, who is a businessman in Tainan, said he decided to take action. He spent his own money and hired two workers to cut down the grass surrounding the tomb. He planned to fix the broken tomb, but then realized that, as a historic relic, it is under the jurisdiction of the Cultural Affairs Department, at Tainan County Government.

He decided to call the department to ask if he could fix the tombs, the report said.

In response to Lin's request, Director-General Ya Tze-shan of the department noted that there was already a plan in place to rebuild the tomb.

Ya would not comment on Chen's ghost manifestation, but said that he was glad Lin had offered to help the restoration project, the report went on.

However, he added that the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act stipulates that the renovation of cultural heritage sites should first be reviewed by a committee, so the department could not start work anytime soon.

Fuling Yang, section chief of the Cultural Heritage Section of the department, told The China Post that her department had proposed a restoration project earlier this year but it was rejected by the Council for Cultural Affairs because the proposal was not comprehensive enough.

Another proposal would not be made until next year, she said.

The Tainan County Magistrate Su Huang-jhih gave instructions that the department should first focus on cleaning up the area surrounding Chen's tomb, Yang noted. Su also asked the department to carry out a thorough background check about the tomb to determine its history, because there are many legends regarding Chen's tomb.

According to Ya, Chen's tomb is a Personal Effects Tomb, which means that it contains his personal effects rather than his corpse. But the gravestone of Chen's tomb is indeed a historical relic that has around 300 years of history.

It is said that the corpse of Chen had been taken back to China during the rule of the Kangxi Emperor, from 1661 to 1722, of the Qing Dynasty. But legend has it that a small part of Chen's corpse is still housed in the tomb in Tainan, Ya said.

Chen was born at 1624 in China's Fujian Province. He was the brain behind many of Zheng's administration policies in Taiwan during Zheng and his son's rule on this island from 1661 to 1683.

Chen was also widely known as the martial art master of Wei Xiaobao in Jin Yong's "The Deer and the Cauldron," a Wuxia novel, making him a household name in Chinese-speaking society.

Zheng was originally a military leader at the end of the Chinese Ming Dynasty who refused the offering of rank made by the newly established Qing Dynasty and launched an anti-Qing military campaign.

He reclaimed Taiwan in 1662 from the Netherlands and used the island as a base to launch counterattacks against the Qing Dynasty government on the Mainland.

The heroic move earned Zheng the name of Koxinga, the Dutch Romanization of the Taiwanese pronunciation of his popular name "Lord with the Royal Surname." Zheng's contribution to the island made him a popular deity to Taiwanese people who built a Koxinga Shrine in Tainan City in 1875, where Zheng and two of his subordinates' statues were worshiped.

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