Zong Ren-bi (鍾任壁), fifth-generation's troupe leader of the Hsin Hsing Ku Puppet Show Troupe, has passed away on Sep. 5 at the age of 90. Zong devoted his life to the inheritance and promotion of the puppet show and had nurtured many talents. Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te expressed his sincere condolences upon hearing the news and instructed the Bureau of Cultural Heritage to fully assist Zong's family in funeral matters. In addition, MOC will propose awarding a presidential citation posthumously to Zong.
Born in Xiluo Township in 1932, Zong had inherited Hsin Hsing Ku puppet show from his family since he was little. At the age of 17, he started starring in traditional puppetry and the swordplay scene. Later on, he applied for the registration of the troupe name titled "Hsin Hsing Ku Puppet Show Second Troupe (新興閣掌中第二劇團)" in 1953. After the death of his father, he changed the troupe name to "Hsin Hsing Ku Puppet Show Troupe (新興閣掌中劇團)." In 2009, Taipei City Government named him as the preserver of the traditional performing arts "Puppet Show" for his expertise in "golden light puppetry (金光戲)."
Moreover, Zhong received multiple awards including Order of Brilliant Star with Violet Grand Cordon, National Heritage Award, Lifetime Achievement Award of Arts Education Contribution Award, Yunlin Culture and Art Award, Taipei Master of Traditional Arts Awards, Lifetime Achievement Award of Taipei City Government.
Minister Lee stated that Zhong had dedicated his entire life to the preservation, transmission, and innovation of the puppetry, and, despite his passing, his legacy of dedication will be cherished forever by future generations.