With the 62nd anniversary of the People’s Republic now behind us, another very important date is coming up. October 10 marks the 100th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution in 1911 which ended in the overthrow of the Qing Empire and the abdication of Emperor Puyi. On the other side of the Taiwan Straits, “Double Ten Day” is commemorated as National Day of the Republic of China, and this year, massive celebrations are expected.
In an interview with Hong Kong daily Ming Pao ahead of the anniversary, Lily Sui-fong Sun, granddaughter of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, has accused the Chinese government of distorting the legacy of the man revered by both China and Taiwan as “Father of the Nation”.
She revealed that ten years ago, when the mainland was celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution, then-president Jiang Zemin claimed Dr Sun had promulgated the idea of a “New Three Principles of the People” which consisted of “Working with the Soviets, Working with the Communists, Helping the Farmers”.
This is in marked contrast to Dr Sun’s “Three Principles of the People” (also known as the San-Min Doctrine), which refers to nationalism, democracy and the livelihood of the people. Inspired by Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, in which he referred to “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” this political philosophy was put forward by Sun as part of his push to make China a modern, free and prosperous state.
Lily Sun said she voiced her displeasure in a private letter to Jiang Zemin in 2002. Jiang responded the following year, saying he would like to sponsor her Xinhai Revolution anniversary activities. A few years later, in 2008, Jiang reiterated his sponsorship offer, saying he was willing to offer US$10 million for her events.
“I can’t take this money,” said Lily Sun to the Ming Pao. “Once I take it, I won’t have the freedom to properly communicate the Revolution. They want to modify history, fool the people and scrub my grandfather’s revolutionary image. I can’t do it. This is distorting history.”
Lily Sun added that she was shocked to discover on a 1981 trip to the Sun Yat-Sen mausoleum in Nanjing, that the emblem of the Kuomintang, a party founded by her grandfather, had disappeared from the top of his tomb. On another visit this May, she was surprised to find that the four Chinese characters《会议通则》(“General Rules of Meetings”, a document that Dr Sun wrote referencing Robert’s Rules of Order) had disappeared from a stone carving.
Lily Sun, 76, is the third daughter of Sun Ke, the eldest son of Sun Yat-Sen. Raised in Shanghai and Hong Kong, she has been living in Honolulu since her marriage.
Photos from Yahoo China.