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Safeguard national unity, Xi urges

By AN BAIJIE | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-12 04:26

President honors Sun Yat-sen as hero, calls on all Chinese to work for country's rejuvenation

Safeguard national unity, Xi urges

President Xi Jinping pledges to safeguard national unity and fight separatists at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday to mark the 150th birthday of Sun Yat-sen. Photo by Li Tao / Xinhua

President Xi Jinping sent a strong signal of safeguarding national unity and fighting separatists at a high-profile ceremony on Friday to mark the 150th birthday of a statesman who was widely respected by people on the Chinese mainland and in Taiwan.

"We will never allow any people, organization or political party, at any time, in any way, to split from China any part of its territory," Xi said during an hourlong speech at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Sun Yat-sen played a pivotal part in the 1911 Revolution that overthrew the imperial rule of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and founded the Republic of China. He also was the founder of the Kuomintang, which governed Taiwan from the 1940s to 1990s and from 2008 to last year.

"We will never tolerate a reoccurrence of the tragedy of national separation," Xi said, adding that China had experienced a century of misery resulting from separation.

Wang Hailiang, a researcher at the Taiwan Research Institute in Shanghai, said that Xi spoke at a time when Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which takes an ambiguous position toward the one-China policy, is trying to erase Sun's influence on the island.

The DPP's move goes against Sun's last wish to unify China, as well as against a historic trend, he said.

Zhu Lijia, a professor of public administration research at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that national unity is the core of Sun's thought, since he opposed all forms of separation.

Zhu said Taiwan's ruling party is "not enthusiastic" about Sun.

Xi, who called Sun a national hero and compatriot, said the revolutionary leader was a firm supporter of national unity.

The mainland would like to communicate with all political parties, organizations and people in Taiwan, as long as they acknowledge that both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China, he said.

The president called on all Chinese people, including those in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, regardless of their political affiliations, to make joint efforts for national rejuvenation, a goal to which Sun was dedicated.

"Mr Sun Yat-sen said, 'What is the biggest issue for a people? That is, to know how to love the nation'," Xi quoted him as saying.

Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of China's top political advisory body, said that Xi's speech showed China's "solemn stance and firm determination" to safeguard national unity.

Hung Hsiu-chu, chairwoman of Taiwan's Kuomintang, visited the mainland early this month.

During the trip, Xi met with her and made a six-point proposal on cross-Straits relations that included opposing "Taiwan independence" and promoting social and economic cooperation across the Straits.

Zou Shuo contributed to this story.

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