Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) yesterday used the centennial of a revolution that ended imperial rule to make an appeal to further relations with Taiwan, saying they should move beyond the history that divides them and focus on common economic and cultural interests.
At a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Hu said China and Taiwan should end antagonisms, “heal wounds of the past and work together to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
“Achieving reunification by peaceful means best serves the fundamental interests of all Chinese, including our Taiwan compatriots,” Hu said, adding that the sides should increase economic competitiveness, promote Chinese culture and build on a sense of a common national identity.
“We must strengthen our opposition to Taiwanese independence ... and promote close exchanges and cooperation between compatriots on both sides,” he said.
Hu has sought to move beyond the threatening rhetoric that long characterized Beijing’s response to Taiwan’s refusal to unify with China. His government has talked of ending the state of hostility with Taiwan.
A large portrait of the founding father of modern China, Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙), hung over the stage on which sat current and former top leaders of China.
The ceremony in Beijing marks the Oct. 10, 1911, armed uprising led by rebels associated with revolutionary leader Sun on a Qing Dynasty garrison. The attack set in motion events that led to the overthrow of imperial rule and raised hopes that China could emerge from a century-and-a-half of national humiliation it had endured at the hands of foreign powers.
The Republic of China was established two-and-a-half months later, but its government fled in disarray to Taiwan in 1949 following the victory of Mao Zedong’s (毛澤東) Chinese Communist Party (CCP) over Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the Chinese Civil War.
In his speech, Hu said Sun was “a great national hero, a great patriot and a great leader of the Chinese democratic revolution.”
He also characterized the CCP as the “core power” that drives China’s success.
“To achieve the great revival of the Chinese nation, we must certainly firmly uphold the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party,” Hu said.
However, the party’s version of the fall of the dynasty has been challenged by critics who say the chaotic chain of coups and insurrections that toppled the corrupt empire and subsequent violent faction conflicts and invasion by Japan are a reminder of the need for democratic reform in the present.
China again faces a dangerous confluence of official corruption, volatile public discontent and stalled reform, Zhou Ruijin (周瑞金), the former deputy editor-in-chief of the People’s Daily newspaper, said in a recent essay about the 1911 revolution.
“Grievances, distrust and rancor that have accumulated over many years have reached a period when they break out,” Zhou wrote in a Beijing magazine.
In past months, authorities have shown how sensitive they are about liberal intellectuals using the events of 1911 as a mirror to criticize or cajole the government. Some seminars and debates about the anniversary have been canceled.
“For us, China’s Xinhai Revolution is still not dead history, it still has a strong resonance with present-day realities,” said Lei Yi, a historian at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. “A key lesson of the revolution is that the country’s fate depends on whether the rulers make the right choices about advancing reforms. Above all, there’s still the issue that a modern China needs a modern form of government — constitutional government.”
Hu is due to leave office from late next year, when a CCP congress will install a new leadership.
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
FRUIT SPAT: The COA said China had not given evidence for halting wax and custard apple imports, adding that it would spend NT$1bn on promoting sales of the fruit Taipei threatened to take China to the WTO yesterday after Beijing said it would suspend wax apple and custard apple imports from Taiwan due to pest concerns. China’s customs administration earlier yesterday said it had repeatedly found pests called Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug, on wax and custard apples from Taiwan. It asked its Guangdong branch and all affiliated offices to stop clearing the products from today. China had acted unilaterally, without providing scientific evidence, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference, criticizing the announcement’s timing, as it came during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated in Taiwan
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the