Academics unimpressed by Hu Jintao’s 1911 Revolution


TAIPEI — Taiwanese academics said Sunday that a speech given by Chinese President Hu Jintao Sunday on the 1911 Revolution did not offer anything new. Hu reiterated the People’s Republic of China’s stance on the “peaceful reunification of China” at a ceremony in Beijing held to commemorate the historic event.

“Dr. Sun said reunification is a shared hope for all Chinese people. If reunification can be achieved, the people would enjoy happiness. If not, the people will suffer,” said Hu, referring to Sun Yat-sen, known as the father of the Republic of China.

Kao Huei, a professor at National Quemoy University who specializes in international and mainland China affairs, said “peaceful reunification” was mainland China’s consistent position and goal, but it “has no new meaning” when brought up in this context.

Chang Wu-ueh, director of the Graduate Institute of China Studies of Taipei’s Tamkang University, echoed Kao’s view.

The Chinese leader’s citing of Dr. Sun’s words in talking about reunification was an interpretation made from a perspective beneficial to China. The reunification Sun advocated was “not exactly the same” as China’s interpretation, Chang said.

Sun’s idea of reunification was for the ethnic revival of the Han people at a time when China’s sovereignty had been partitioned by world powers, Chang noted.

China also needs to consider how much a “peaceful reunification” and “great revival of the Chinese people” can be accepted and identified with emotionally by people across the Taiwan Strait, Chang said.

Hu also claimed in his speech that the PRC was the “most loyal successor” of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who led the revolution to overthrow the Qing monarchy in 1911, but Kao disagreed.

Kao suggested that the Chinese authorities needed to move toward democracy to fulfill Sun’s core political philosophy — The Three Principles of the People — in a complete and orthodox way.

“How to carry out Dr. Sun’s principle of people’s rights (democracy)” is more important for China after it has been committed to economic development to implement another principle — that of people’s livelihoods and welfare — Kao said.