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Dr Sun Yat-sen - the father of modern China

By comparison to China's Communist leaders that came after him, Dr. Sun Yat-sen still remains in high regard by most Chinese communities worldwide as being the "father of modern China."

Dr Sun Yat-sen, in today's world, may come across as being driven by greed for power and of being a racist.

Source Wikipedia

Sun Yat-sen (/ˈsʌn ˈjætˈsɛn/; 12 November 1866 – 12 March 1925) was a Chinese philosopher, physician, and politician, who served as the first president of the Republic of China and the first leader of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party of China). He is referred as the "Father of the Nation" in the Republic of China due to his instrumental role in the overthrow of the Qing dynasty during the Xinhai Revolution. Sun is unique among 20th-century Chinese leaders for being widely revered in both mainland China and Taiwan.

Sun is considered to be one of the greatest leaders of modern China, but his political life was one of constant struggle and frequent exile. After the success of the revolution in which Han Chinese regained power after 268 years of living under the Manchu Qing dynasty, he quickly resigned as President of the newly founded Republic of China and relinquished it to Yuan Shikai. He soon went to exile in Japan for safety but returned to found a revolutionary government in the South as a challenge to the warlords who controlled much of the nation. In 1923, he invited representatives of the Communist International to Canton to re-organize his party and formed a brittle alliance with the Chinese Communist Party. He did not live to see his party unify the country under his successor, Chiang Kai-shek in the Northern Expedition. He died in Beijing of gallbladder cancer on 12 March 1925.

Sun's chief legacy is his political philosophy known as the Three Principles of the People: nationalism (independence from foreign imperialist domination), "rights of the people" (sometimes translated as "democracy"), and the people's livelihood (sometimes translated as "socialism", or literally "a scientific study of helping people to survive in the society," as he explained the difference between his socialism and that of Karl Marx in his book.)

Source By Mark O'Neill, a Hong Kong based writer, teacher and speaker.

Why Dr. Sun Yat-sen is still revered by all Chinese

12 November 2016 marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dr Sun Yat-sen.

No leader enjoys more goodwill in the broader Chinese community than the boy who was born into the family of a landless farmer in Cuiheng village in Guangdong province, close to the border with Macao, in 1866.

He is the only politician revered on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and other Chinese cities around the world have museums, parks and monuments named after him.

The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park in Hong Kong’s Western district contains a swimming pool and sports center as well as a park. It is the only park in the city named after a historical figure in China. On Castle Road in the Mid-levels, there is a museum in his honor, with 2,600 square meters of space.

During a peripatetic life during which he lived in countries all over the world, Sun’s greatest asset was his ability to make friends — with Chinese intellectuals, workers, businessmen and expatriates as well as foreign leaders, scholars and ordinary people – and inspire them to give him their loyalty, time, money and – in some cases – their lives.

It is this adaptability that has served him so well since his death; it has enabled the warring factions of the Chinese world to use him for their own purposes.

In Taiwan, his “Three Principles of the People” is the guiding ideology of the Republic of China. The island’s presidents take their oath of office in front of a portrait of him. His picture hangs in the Parliament, government offices and schools. The words of the national anthem come from a speech he made in July 1924 to open the Whampoa Military Academy in Guangzhou. He looks out from the NT$100 banknotes.

In the mainland, he is referred to as the father of the nation (國父). At the end of his life, he made a political alliance with the young Communist Party – this enables it to make a historical link to the 1911 revolution and present itself as the continuation of that link.

Beijing uses him to connect it with Taiwan – even though the opposition Democratic Progressive Party sees him as a Chinese, not a Taiwanese.

The people of Hong Kong and Macau are proud that a fellow Cantonese was leader of the movement that overthrew the Qing dynasty. So many of the revolutionaries were Cantonese that it nearly became the national language.

But, because Sun has become an idol, many aspects of his life have been written out of history. He had a rich love life, with three wives and many girlfriends. One wife was a Japanese, Kaoru Otsuki, with whom he had a daughter Fumiko. They married in 1902, when he was 38 and she 15, while he was still married to his first wife, Lu Mu-zhen. He left Japan before the birth of their daughter, who was adopted by another family from whom she took her surname.

His third wife was Song Qing-ling, one of the three famous Song sisters. They married in Tokyo in October 1915, despite the fierce opposition of her parents on the grounds that he was 26 years her senior. Her parents were long-time friends of Dr Sun. [His brother-in-law was Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek, the head of the Kuomingtang, the Chinese Nationalist Party].

Before the marriage, Lu begged Sun to take Song as his concubine and allow her to remain his legal wife. A Christian, Song insisted that he divorce his wife before entering into another marriage. Sun bought Lu a large house in Macau where she lived with her family until her death in 1952.

Sun died in 1925, leaving Song a widow at the age of 32. Many people believe that, thereafter, the government – be it the KMT or the Communist – never allowed her to marry again because of her status as “Mother of the Nation” (國母).

Western historians have been less charitable to Sun than Chinese ones. Some call him “Big Gun Sun” (孫大炮), a reference to the fact that he was President of the Republic of China for less than three months – January 1 to March 10, 1912 – and the new country he founded was extremely unstable. Political and military power belonged to warlords with access to arms and funding, not a doctor who had spent most of his life in exile.

Sun wrote and spoke prolifically, covering many subjects and ways of thinking; this allowed people to find what they wanted in his works.

China is blessed in having him as the father of its revolution – not the Lenin or Stalin of the Soviet Union, Robespierre of France or Adolf Hitler of Germany. A medical doctor, he had an attractive and charismatic personality – qualities that have stood the test of time.

All contemporary sources attribute to Sun a magnetic personality, a great capacity for tolerating others’ weaknesses, a singular dedication to the pursuit of power, and a knowledge of the West unequaled by that of any of his political rivals. Perhaps the last factor is the most important, for it is this that set Sun apart and made him the symbol of Chinese modernization. Quite fittingly, the Chinese communists call him “a pioneer of the revolution.”

Yuan Shikai is still despised in China!

In 1911 the Qing decided to nationalize all the trunk railways, thus incurring the wrath of local vested interests. Armed rebellion broke out in the province of Sichuan, and the court exposed itself to further attacks by failing to suppress it. In October 1911 a local revolutionary group in Wuhan, one of many in China by this time, began another rebellion, which, in spite of its lack of coordination, unexpectedly managed to overthrow the provincial government. Its success inspired other provincial secessions.

Sun Yat-sen learned of the Wuhan revolution from the newspapers while he was in Denver, Colo., USA. He returned to Shanghai in December and was elected provisional president by delegates meeting in Nanjing. Knowing that his regime was weak, Sun made a deal with Yuan Shikai (Yüan Shih-k’ai), a Qing imperial minister who had been entrusted with full power by the court. On Feb. 12, 1912, the Qing emperor abdicated; the next day Sun resigned, and on the 14th Yuan was elected his successor.

Yuan Shikai was frustrated in a short-lived attempt to restore hereditary monarchy in China, with himself as the Hongxian Emperor (洪憲皇帝).

Further references:


Dr. Sun Yat-sen

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