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PFP leader calls to remember ancestral roots
By Xing Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-07 08:34

XI'AN: Visiting Chairman of the People First Party (PFP) in Taiwan James Soong paid respects at the Mausoleum of Huangdi on Friday in a symbolic move recognizing his Chinese origins.

PFP Chairman James Soong receives a Boeing-777 model from a captain of China Southern on board the charter from Xi'an to Nanjing March 6, 2005. [Xinhua]  
The 63-year-old leader called for cross-Straits reconciliation to benefit all Chinese people on both sides after the ceremony on Friday morning.

In legend Huangdi (the Yellow Emperor) is considered to be the founder of the Chinese civilization as well as its first ancestor. His mausoleum is in Huangling County in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

At a solemn service that lasted about half an hour, Soong and his 50-member delegation made offerings of flowers, fruit and wine in front of a giant portrait of Huangdi.

Soong himself read out a commemorative article, saying: "Chinese descendants should not forget their ancestral roots and both sides of the Straits should live in peace like a family."

In a speech after visiting the mausoleum, he said he and the PFP delegation had come to worship Huangdi for the sake of "finding our own roots in our ancestral home."

"All Taiwanese people are of Chinese origin," he told reporters.

"As long as we do not forget our ancestral roots, it will be easy for us to settle the more critical problems (in the Taiwan Straits)."

He was apparently referring to the current political stalemate in cross-Straits relations due to rampant secessionist activities on the island.

Soong's party, founded in 2000, upholds the "1992 consensus," an informal agreement that commits both sides of the Straits to the one-China principle.

But the ruling "pro-independence" Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has rejected the consensus while pushing hard for "Taiwan independence."

Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian of the DPP even goes so far as not recognizing himself as Chinese.

Cross-Straits tension has heightened since Chen came to power in 2000.

In a bid to help ease tensions in bilateral ties, Beijing has been calling for consultation with all Taiwanese parties, organizations and individuals that uphold the "1992 consensus," oppose "Taiwan independence" and promote closer cross-Straits relations.

Soong said on Friday that Chinese descendants across the Straits should love each like brothers and work together to rejuvenate the Chinese nation.

"We should promote the vision of cross-Straits reconciliation to benefit future generations and create an opportunity to revitalize our nation," he said.

Soong arrived in Nanjing on Friday night on the second leg of his nine-day five-city trip to the mainland. This was his first trip back to the mainland since he left for Taiwan in 1949 at seven years old.

On Saturday, the PFP chairman, a leading Kuomintang (KMT) official until 2000, will pay homage at the Mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen, founder of the KMT.

In the following days, he is scheduled to visit Shanghai and his birthplace Xiangtan in Hunan Province.

On his last stop in Beijing, Soong is expected to hold landmark talks with Hu.

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