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Here's to the centenary of the Xinhai Revolution

By Hsin-Yi Lo - posted Monday, 24 October 2011


October 10th is probably just another day, but for me and all the Chinese people around the world, this is the day that changed the fate of China and also the Chinese people. This year is the 100th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution (also known as the Chinese Revolution), it was an honourable moment for me to participate in the celebrations, also known as the 'Double Ten Day' ceremony.

I travelled to Taipei with my family; we have been looking forward to this moment for a very long time. It was a hot and humid day; the Presidential Palace was like a sea of red, blue and white. Attendants wore t-shirts with the Taiwanese flag and there were ringing choruses of talks from attendants about what the Double Ten Day meant to them individually.

We were all gathered together in one place, Chinese people from different parts of the world such as the United States, Canada, Australia, Southeast Asia and parts of Europe shared one celebration – to commemorate the importance of the Xinhai Revolution. President of Taiwan Ma Ying-Jeou, also the Chairman of the KMT (Kuomintang) Party made an inspirational speech about the positive changes the Revolution had brought, commemorating the Wuchang Uprising initiated by the revolutionary leader Dr Sun Yat Sen who is also known as the "Father of the Nation" and co-founder of the KMT Party, and remembering all those other self-sacrificing heroes and why the Revolution took place.

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The Revolution happened for a reason; prior to 1911, China was torn apart by political instability, citizens were living in a demoralised environment because of the humiliation they felt losing to foreign powers and forced to cede over lands to foreign nations. There were also economic issues and the resentment over the Qing Government for their corruption. In order for China and all Chinese people to see a brighter future, a great amount of people contributed to the great revolution, hoping to see to see that the next generations will live in a prosperous and better society.

After the Revolution, the Qing Monarchy fell and China was dismantled into different territories, territories controlled by different warlords. After the Chinese Reunification in1928, a conflict broke out between the then reigning government, the KMT Party, and the Communist Party. The Second Sino-Japanese war started in 1937 and after the war, a civil between the KMT and Communist Party began and eventually the KMT was ousted and fled to Taiwan. After many struggles and hardships, China is reborn again and now is an economic super power and playing a lead role in international politics.

But let us not forget that the success of the Revolution and China's prosperity are also credited to overseas Chinese. Dr Sun was an overseas Chinese, he once said "the Overseas Chinese are the mother of the revolution", others include Liao Zhongkai who was a KMT leader and financier and of the 72 who died in the Huanghuagang Uprising in 1910, and over 20 of them were overseas Chinese. Other significant contributions were made such as donations – I heard stories that some overseas Chinese businessmen sold their business and gave up their fortune to support the Revolution. Overseas Chinese had also assisted in promoting revolutionary ideas in order to strengthen support.

I am proud to say that my great grandfather, an overseas Chinese, also took part in the Revolution by supplying weapons and arms for revolutionaries.

It is hard not to mention about cross strait politics between China and Taiwan because the KMT are now in Taiwan. During President Ma's speech, he mentioned the values of the Revolution, freedom, democracy and social equality, have yet to be achieved in Mainland China but they are successful in Taiwan. He also talked about the economic prosperity of Taiwan, their military strength and also the desire to increase diplomatic ties with other nation-states.

President Ma inevitably mentioned politics in his speech, but political discussions and even debates about China and Taiwan can also be heard everyday. It is an extremely delicate issue and there are contentious opinions whether Taiwan should reunify with China or become an independent state. After so many years, some Chinese people remain divided because of different political ideas. However, I realised that the Double Ten Day brought all of us together – echoing what happened 100 years ago. We all came to commemorate what our ancestors had done, no matter how little or big their input was for the Revolution, I am confident to say that their sacrifice and bravery has given all Chinese people hope.

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About the Author

Hsin-Yi Lo is currently serving as the Project Officer at the National Ethnic & Multicultural Broadcasters' Council and Deakin Golden Key's Communications Officer.

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All articles by Hsin-Yi Lo

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