Nanjing, Jiangsu Province: Paying their Respects

Sun Yat-sen, a Chinese revolutionary and political leader, was born on November 12, 1886. A Xinhua article, republished by Enorth, reports that

November 12 is the 144th anniversary of revolutionary pioneer Sun Zhongshan’s [孙中山 / Sūn Zhōngshān] *) birthday. On this special day, entry to the Sun-Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing is free.

The mausoleum had started taking entry fees in 1993, writes Xinhua, but was open to the public free of charge on Friday. The article seems to suggest that Friday was only the first of two or several days of admission-free entry. Daily opening hours are from 08:30 to 17:00 hours.

The article refers to Sun’s birthday as 诞辰 (dàn chén), which is a rather formal and respectful expression. A visitor from Nanjing is quoted as paying his respects (瞻仰, zhānyǎng).

Are you in a festive mood today, Mr President?

Are you in a festive mood today, Mr President?

But the article’s actual issue is Taiwan:

Zhongshan Mausoleum management director Wang Pengshan (王鹏善) explains that since 2001, the site has held several cross-strait youth summer camps, to play an active role in enhancing the national identity of Taiwan’s youth. With the background of the continuously closer relations across the Taiwan Strait, Lien Chan, James Soong, and [Update/Correction, 2010-11-12] Ye Yu / Yok Mu-ming have come to the Zhongshan Mausoleum to pay homage since 2005, and in 2008, Wu Po-hsiung twice led delegations of some 100 people to pay homage.
中山陵园管理局局长王鹏善介绍,自2001年起,中山陵多次举办两岸青少年夏令营活动,为增强台湾青少年民族认同感发挥了积极作用。在两岸联系不断紧密的 背景下,自2005年起,连战、宋楚瑜、郁慕明纷纷前来拜谒中山陵;2008年和2009年,吴伯雄连续两次率100人左右的访问团到此拜谒。

Sun Yat-sen, as the founder of the KMT which ruled China until 1949, and Taiwan for most of the time since 1945 (with two presidential terms served by Chen Shui-bian of the Democratic Progressive Party / DPP in between, from 2001 to 2008), matters most to those Taiwanese who see themselves as Chinese, rather than as Taiwanese nationals. But that doesn’t mean that he would be irrelevant for all members or supporters of the DPP, which seeks more international recognition of Taiwan’s sovereignty. Several years ago, EastSouthWestNorth extensively covered surveys which show that the way the Taiwanese think of themselves isn’t simply “either-or”. The question of statehood, would lead to the choice between Taiwan or the Republic of China. People who think of their cultural background as Chinese don’t necessarily think of themselves as Chinese nationals.

But as Sun Yat-sen’s permanent site is in China, it’s an easy job for Xinhua to imply that visitors to the mausoleum from Taiwan are just visitors from another province.


*) Sun Zhongshan is the name Sun Yat-sen adopted as a politician – his birth name was 孫逸仙 / Sūn Yìxiān.

Chinese Military Buildup “closely watched”, August 17, 2010
Taiwan News Encyclopedia: Dr. Sun Yat-sen, RTI, Aug. 14, 2010
Sino-Japanese Communiqué: Fully Understood, July 27, 2010

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