Anniversary reminds us of Sun Yat-sen’s hope for unified China

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 November, 2016, 12:19am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 November, 2016, 8:46pm

Your full-page photo coverage of Sun Yat-sen’s life, marking the 150th anniversary of his birth (“Leading light Sun”, November 14), reminded us he was China’s first president in the country’s modern history, and is revered on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Sun is also revered in Hong Kong, Singapore, and in other cities globally where he visited during his many years of revolutionary activities. In Japan, where he made many friends and supporters among Japanese intellectuals, he used the surname Nakayama.

In 1923 in Guangzhou, Sun Yat-sen brought together the Kuomintang (KMT) and the newly established Communist Party of China to join the First United Front that would later participate in the 1926-1927 Northern Expedition.

During the decades of the 1930s and the early 1940s, the modernisation efforts of the KMT were hampered by Japan’s military occupation of China’s sovereign territory.

At the end of the second world war, the country’s civil war between the military forces of the Communist Party and the KMT held up the country’s structural development.

But after the KMT moved its base to Taiwan, China’s development programmes followed two paths, with the KMT relying mainly on American aid while the Communist Party initially relied on Russian assistance that was later followed by the opening of diplomatic and economic ties between China and the US and a host of other countries.

There is much in common between Sun’s Three People’s Principles of Nationalism, Democracy and Livelihood and Xi Jinping’s (習近平) all-embracing China Dream that he proposed in 2012.

In his recent telephone call congratulating president-elect Donald Trump, Xi told Trump he held the Sino-US relationship in high regard and that the two nations should expand their cooperation.

Xi said there was “an immense potential for Sino-US cooperation. Both sides need to strengthen coordination to push for economic growth among themselves and the world.”

China is today an economic superpower in its own right, and the Communist Party and the KMT, together with the insightful cooperation of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party, should now explore opportunities for development under the China 1992 Consensus.

It is also time for those of us who live in the Hong Kong SAR under the Basic Law and the “one country, two systems” framework to support President Xi in his forward-looking Sino-US initiative for the benefit of Asia and the global community.

Hilton Cheong-Leen, To Kwa Wan