Hu Jintao
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1911 revolution gets a biased remembrance

Hu Jintao

On the 100th anniversary of China's 1911 revolution this week, President Hu Jintao gave a 20-minute speech praising Sun Yat-sen as a 'national hero'. But Hu's acknowledgment of Sun's leading role in the revolution stopped there.

His speech seemed more than anything to serve as propaganda for the Communist Party. Hu did not mention Sun's political ideals to modernise China, nor the idea of democracy. If anything, he expressed the need to use Marxism-Leninism, Maoism and Dengism as guidelines for the future.

Everything about Sunday's anniversary celebration glorified the Communist Party - from the flags to the national anthem. When Hu said the party is the faithful successors to Sun's revolutionary causes, it is apparent that Sun served only to create a platform for the party to emphasise its greatness.

What was most noteworthy in Hu's speech was his call for reunification with Taiwan. He said the Chinese nation can fulfil its great expectations only when the island co-operates with the mainland.

Although it is good to see that Sun and the 1911 revolution are not forgotten, there is something amiss. The essence of the revolution is not recognised by the government for what it is - a fervent attempt at democracy and freedom. Hu's speech reveals that political change on the mainland isn't coming anytime soon.