28 July 2016

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen: Wuhan, Guangzhou & Nanjing

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen was the first president of China, taking the Middle Kingdom away from it's Dynasties to a modern country of its time. I knew nothing about that revolutionist before moving to Wuhan, China in June 2015. From causing an uprising in Wuhan during 1911, Dr. Zhongshan played his part part to find the foundations of the People's Republic of China! Yes, Dr. Sun Yan-Sen!

Looking for something special to see during my first sightseeing days in Wuhan, China I came across the Wuchang Uprising Memorial 1911. I will admit that I have never heard of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen before that day of discovery, stopping by the legendary Yellow Crane Tower I made it my mission to see what was up during 1911! Getting a clearer picture of what Dr. Sun Yat-Sen contributed to the forming of the People's Republic of China. Pushing for change there was a whole lot of shady business going down with specific things that I wasn't sure of. Essentially, the succession of a new Dynasty wasn't going to be a welcomed idea! Paving the way with careful negotiation Dr. Sun Yat-Sen became the first president of the newly established Republic of China. It was quite difficult to piece together what the exhibits said at the Uprising Memorial museum because were predominately in Chinese. Wuhan, you brought it!

On the 11th of October 1911 Huang Xing, a fellow revolutionary managed the logistics of the Wuchang Uprising whilst Dr. Sun Yat-Sen was exiled in the United States. The revolution was successfully fought to over-throw 2000 years of Imperial Chinese rule part of such Dynasties like the Qing and Ming, the Emperors and their Empresses would not rule over China ever again. Sun returned from the United States of America after he learnt the result had been in the favour of the Republic. Making my way around the final instalments of the museum to find the style revolution that was taking place in China after Imperial rule had vanished, women were wearing new fashion forward trends and they were working new permed hairstyles. Aside from the politics of that business I know those Empresses would have looked on-point during those former Dynasties! I had done good considering I previously knew nothing about that time! Wuhan was and still is schooling me about China's history! It was ace!

Choosing Guangzhou as the final stop on my 2016 Spring Festival holiday I was aware Dr. Sun Yat-Sen had a Memorial Hall that conveniently had its own underground station. Opened in 1931, this Memorial Hall had much to show me, like the Wuchang 1911 Uprising site the vast majority of the exhibits were only in Chinese, unfortunately I can't read those characters! Catching the still atmosphere during that Chinese New Year's Day I appreciated the well manicured gardens that shone in that winter sunshine during one of Chinese busiest festival's. Admission was free for that day only, I had definitely chose the right time and location for that Guangzhou visit! The grand auditorium impressed me much, I could just imagine important meetings taking place with many influential people from Zhongshan's delegation. Guangzhou's former Presidential Palace once stood on the foundations of this colorful memorial hall, let's get it!

After digging a little deeper I uncovered some shade from 1922, Guangzhou's former Presidential Palace was under-fire by Ye-Ju's attack, so Dr. Sun Yat-Sen was sent to the SS Yongfeng along with Chiang Kai-Shek, a former leader of the Republic of China. Sun's wife got away from the perils of the yet to be Memorial Hall, of course I do my research when I craft my blog posts! During my February 2016 visit to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, I got the feeling that Zhongshan could of had the same level as respect as maybe former British Prime Minster, Winston Churchill? Nevertheless, getting to know the Memorial Hall and it's quirks was well worth it! These sights from Wuhan and Guangzhou had opened up a whole new Chinese icon that I never knew existed. I didn't realise Macau had it's own Zhongshan Park until I had crossed the borderline back into China! Wuhan has a Zhongshan Park, I have already been there so I'm over that one! I wouldn't think twice about a park in England!

Nanjing held the key to the third slice of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's legacy, finding the resting place of this Chinese visionary and revolutionist had to be done. I had seen about Zhongshan Mausoleum prior to my move to China and had put it on my travel list. Choosing the Dragon Boat Festival to visit the city of Nanjing, it was like opening a new can of worms for the events after the Uprising of 1911 put the spotlight on this former Southern Capital of China. No, Beijing wasn't always the capital city of China, as far as Nanjing I learned at Chaotian Gong that Nanjing was handed the torch to be the first capital city of the newly formed Republic of China. As I get better with the Chinese characters for the cities I now understand the symbols for Nanjing and Beijing, 'Nan' for 'South' and 'Bei for  'North' for that I could try to understand. Beijing is on my sights but Nanjing had me pretty caught up! Oh, China is amazing! I looked deeper!

Making way through a maze of paths as the crowds grew more and more hectic it felt like I was entering a place that had the same hype as Walt Disney World, Florida possesses! On the 1st, June 1929 the Doctor was buried at his very own Mausoleum in Nanjing. Known as the 'Father of Modern China' Dr. Sun Yat-Sen had been hailed for his victories to move China forward, away from the Qing Imperialist rulers to a new frontier for China and Taiwan. From what I saw at the Zhongshan Mausoleum was remarkable, I even had to get real with one lady because she was trying to take a photo inside the Mausoleum! The whole experience of seeing the Mausoleum had made my reason for Nanjing worth it! Looking back on that Dragon Boat Festival occasion it felt like people had made a pilgrimage of some sorts to visit the resting place of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen? I know that investing time into finding more about Zhongshan has shaped a part of my experience in China! Dr. Zhongshan served for sure!

Dynasty Denied!

Joseph Harrison 

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