Sun Yat-sen's spirit calls for better cross-Straits ties

Updated: 2016-11-12 07:57

By Li Zhenguang(China Daily)

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The 150th birthday of Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), the forerunner of the Chinese democratic revolution and founder of Kuomintang, will be celebrated on Saturday and could open a window of opportunity for the two sides of the Taiwan Straits to strengthen their cultural bond.

Dr Sun devoted his life to the cause of reunification that was also the aspiration of all Chinese people who fell victim to the endless clashes between warlords and the West-led invasion back then.

In particular, Dr Sun's "Three Principles of the People" - Nationalism, Democracy, and People's Livelihood - have a lot in common with the Chinese Dream proposed by top leader Xi Jinping in 2012, who again highlighted Dr Sun's contribution at Friday's memorial conference in Beijing to mark his 150th birthday.

Xi spoke highly of Dr Sun's unwavering stance on national unity, pledging that "we would never allow any individual, organization or political party, in any time, with any form, to separate any piece of Chinese land from the nation".

People on the mainland are now enjoying the benefits of a rising, stronger nation, and reunification will be realized, sooner or later, so long as the two sides of the Straits seek to put their ties back on track.

While meeting with a delegation led by Hung Hsiu-chu, chairwoman of the opposition Kuomintang in Taiwan, in Beijing earlier this month, Xi underscored the need to adhere to the 1992 Consensus that there is only one China and maintain the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.

And Hung paid tribute to Dr Sun at his mausoleum in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province, on Oct 31 in the pursuit of "peaceful development of cross-Straits relations".

Hung's five-day visit to the mainland, which first took her to Nanjing before Beijing, came at a time when her party is facing problems. As the third Kuomintang leader to pay homage to Dr Sun at his mausoleum in Nanjing, Hung hoped her visit would help her party regain some footing after it lost the island's leadership election to the Democratic Progressive Party in January.

Dr Sun's pursuit of national reunification and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation despite the trials and tribulations he faced could inspire people in Taiwan, especially Kuomintang members, to tide over the current crisis. And by choosing Nanjing as the first stop of her mainland visit, Hung has added weight to her commitment to restoring "peace, hope and mutual trust between the two sides", which she reiterated in Nanjing.

That Hung and her party firmly support the reunification of the Chinese nation is well in line with Dr Sun's legacy for the nation. And during their Beijing talks, Xi said it can be sorted out with resolve and sincerity while conceding that the mainland and Taiwan still have some "complicated political disagreements".

Indeed, the official cross-Straits communication channels are basically closed and grassroots exchanges have declined sharply after the DPP's Tsai Ing-wen took office as the island's leader in May and Kuomintang is struggling to survive a series of attacks by the DPP. But as the largest opposition party in Taiwan, Kuomintang still has the political prowess to seek consensus with the Communist Party of China, in order to keep cross-Straits relations from deteriorating further.

The fruitful, peaceful development of the cross-Straits bond in the eight years before Tsai assumed office - thanks to the island's former leader Ma Ying-jeou and his adherence to the one-China principle - has benefited compatriots on both sides of the Straits. Now, compatriots across the Straits have to take forward the shared quest to make the benign cross-Straits exchanges permanent.

And honoring Dr Sun's patriotic spirit should be a promising start for them.

The author is a professor at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Beijing Union University.

(China Daily 11/12/2016 page5)