Sun, Jun 20, 2004 - Page 3 News List

The `Whampoa spirit' is history, says Lee Teng-hui

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Commenting on recent celebrations surrounding the 80th anniversary of the Whampoa Military Academy, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday said that the "Whampoa spirit" (黃埔精神), as once advocated by former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), has passed out of existence and is not applicable to society today.

Speaking during a leadership-training class at the Lee Teng-hui School, the former president said: "The Whampoa spirit is history. What does it mean today? Basically, it's not applicable to contemporary society."

The Whampoa Military Academy is the predecessor of the current Chinese Military Academy in Fengshan, Kaohsiung County. It was established in 1924 in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, and produced many elite personnel who fought in the 1937-1945 Sino-Japanese War.

Lee said Taiwanese society has changed a great deal over the past five decades and he urged future leaders to pay heed to history as they take up the challenges of the future.

Lee stressed that changes in political power are a common phenomenon in history and he urged the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to accept having lost the presidential election.

"The KMT was in power for more than 50 years. Although it has been replaced, it still refuses to accept its defeat and makes a lot of excuses. What's the big problem with everyone taking turns as president?" Lee said.

Lee said the most important factors in determining a nation's prosperity or decay are its identity, its goals and the quality of its leaders.

Lee ascribed certain social problems to an insufficient identification with Taiwan as a nation.

"Many foreigners wonder why Taiwan was in such chaos [after the presidential election]. It was because 85 percent of the people were afraid of 15 percent of the people -- Mainlanders -- who don't recognize Taiwan [as an independent country]."

Lee also said that 50 years of indoctrination by the party-state played a role in people's lacking the ability to oppose an alien regime.

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