China marks anniversary of the 1911 revolution
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China held a high-profile meeting in Beijing on Saturday to mark the 110th anniversary of the Revolution of 1911 that ended the thousands-year-long absolute monarchy in the country.
Addressing the event at the Great Hall of the People, President Xi Jinping hailed the revolution as a "great and arduous exploration" by the Chinese people and progressives to achieve national independence and the people's liberation.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, called for promoting the great spirit of revolutionary pioneers and pooling strength for national rejuvenation.
Starting with gunfire in Wuchang, now part of central China's Wuhan City, on Oct. 10, 1911, the national democratic revolution launched by Chinese revolutionaries represented by Dr. Sun Yat-sen brought down the Qing government and brought about the establishment of Asia's first republic.
The revolution "helped to greatly liberate the thinking of the Chinese people, spread the ideas of democracy and republicanism, and opened the floodgates for progress in China," Xi said. It triggered a social transformation in China and led to the search for a path to national rejuvenation, which has been the greatest dream of the Chinese people since the Opium War of 1840.
Saturday's gathering, Xi said, was meant to commemorate the historic exploits of revolutionary pioneers like Dr. Sun Yat-sen, to emulate and carry forward their lofty spirit of working with unshakable resolve to revitalize China, and to inspire and rally the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation at home and abroad to work together to realize the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
What has been learned
Expounding on what the past 110 years have shown to the Chinese people, Xi said to realize national rejuvenation, the Chinese people must have a strong force to lead them forward, and that force is the CPC.
"The past 110 years have shown us that to realize national rejuvenation, the path we take is of fundamental importance. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has proven to be the only correct path," Xi said.
To realize national rejuvenation, the Chinese people must rely on their own heroic efforts, and the Chinese people and nation must stick together through good times and bad and rely on their strong unity to overcome all risks and challenges on the road ahead, Xi said.
"Through courage and skill, we will overcome all major risks and challenges that may impede our path to national rejuvenation and resolutely safeguard our national sovereignty, security, and development interests," he added.
To realize national rejuvenation, China needs not only a stable and united domestic environment but also a peaceful and stable international environment, Xi noted.
"Aggression and hegemony are not in the blood of the Chinese people. Our people hope to successfully realize national development, but they also hope to see all peoples of the world leading happy and peaceful lives," he added, noting that China will strengthen solidarity with the peoples of all other countries, and engage in common efforts to oppose hegemony and power politics.
"China will remain a champion of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of the international order, and we will do our very best to make even greater contributions to humanity," he said.
In his address, Xi said the Taiwan question arose out of the weakness and chaos of the Chinese nation, and it will be resolved as national rejuvenation becomes a reality.
"This is determined by the general trend of Chinese history, but more importantly, it is the common will of all Chinese people," he noted.
National reunification by peaceful means best serves the interests of the Chinese nation as a whole, including compatriots in Taiwan, said Xi, while calling on compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to stand on the right side of history.
Xi described secession aimed at "Taiwan independence" as the greatest obstacle to national reunification and a grave danger to national rejuvenation.
"Those who forget their heritage, betray their motherland, and seek to split the country will come to no good end," he said, adding that they will be disdained by the people and condemned by history.
The Taiwan question is purely an internal matter for China, one which brooks no external interference, Xi noted.
"The complete reunification of our country will be and can be realized," he stressed.
Saturday's meeting, presided over by Wang Yang, was attended by other senior leaders Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng, and Wang Qishan.
They were joined by representatives from all walks of life, including descendants of the pioneers of the 1911 Revolution and guests from overseas.
Carrying on the Great Cause
In Wuhan, a commemoration was attended by more than 90 descendants of the heroes of the 1911 Revolution.
Cai Lihong, a professor at Huazhong Agricultural University and grandson of Cai Jimin, a leader of the Wuchang Uprising that represented the beginning of the 1911 Revolution, said the Revolution of 1911 will forever stand as a towering landmark on our nation's journey toward rejuvenation.
"I am pleased that the great cause initiated by our elder generation is advancing step by step," he added.
Fang Yucheng, 60, is the grandson of a soldier whose battalion fired the first shots in the Wuchang Uprising.
"I have always been proud of my grandfather and the revolution he participated in is of great significance," Fang said. "His revolutionary spirit has been inspiring me to work hard for national rejuvenation."