The visit of Dr Sun Yat Sen’s mausoleum at the foot of Zijin mountain (purple mountain) was my first introduction to this great Chinese leader. He is perhaps the only leader who is profoundly honored in both mainland China and Taiwan. Sun is credited for ending the 2000 years imperial rule in China by replacing the Qing dynasty with Kuomintang (Nationalist Party of China), a party he created and presided in 1912.
The mausoleum is located in Zhongshan scenic area named after Sun’s Japanese name. As our guide kept on narrating bits and pieces of Dr Sun’s life and the architecture of the mausoleum, I realized how the young generation of Chinese people is glued to the San-min doctrine of Dr Sun Yat Sen; commonly understood as Three Principles of People. The generation who was grown up holding Mao’s little red book is quickly fading in the background of history. The three principles Minzu, Minquan and Minsheng are engraved on the front wall of the sepulture. The first principle Minzu refers to people’s connection. Sun believed in the kind of a modern civic nationalism (Zhonghua Minzu) as opposed to the traditional Chinese nationalism which is based on unification of five major ethnic groups. Minquan refers to people’s power, i.e., a democracy based on the dual principles of modern politics and governance. Lastly, Minsheng refers to people’s welfare by creating an industrial economy and equality in land holding by farmers.
The architecture of the mausoleum is designed in a bell’s shape when seen from the height. The gradual ascending of 392 stairs metaphorically represents the gradual achievement of a revolution. After the first 100 stairs, a tablet has been kept empty in the tradition of the only women emperor of China who bequeathed that her memorial tablet should remain empty as the time must ultimately judge her legacy.
Looking forward to read some good book about Dr Sun and his life and times.