Sun Yat-Sen Quotes

  1. Like Moscow, I wish to lay the foundation of the Chinese Republic deeply in the minds of the young generation – the workers of tomorrow.
  2. I am keenly aware that the wealth and power of the European nations are the result not only of their having ships and powerful guns, strong fortresses and formidable troops but also because their people can fully employ their talents, their land can be fully utilized, their natural resources can be fully tapped, and their goods can freely flow.
  3. China more than two milleniums ago had already considered the idea of democracy, but at that time she could not put it into operation.
  4. No matter what nationalities became a part of our country in the future, they would have to assimilate into the Han nationality. The nationalism our party supports is a positive nationalism. Do not forget that.
  5. Decades of futile effort have not dampened my bold aspirations to save the nation. Born in a late age, I have not been able to witness the golden rule of Yao and Shun and other sage emperors of ancient China. Instead, my heart grieves at the suffering of the Chinese people under the cruel exploitation of the Tartar Slaves.
  6. Revolution is usually a bloody affair. Our Revolution of 1911 did not shed much blood because our people are a peace-loving people. This peace-loving quality is the greatest virtue of the Chinese.
  7. China’s republican politics is like a child who just started schooling. He must have a good teacher and be surrounded by good friends. By the same token, the Chinese people, new to the republican politics, must be educated properly. The revolutionary government should be the people’s tutor to impart advanced awareness and experience.
  8. The government should help and guide the weak and small racial groups within its national boundaries toward self-determination and self-government. It should offer resistance to foreign aggression, and simultaneously, it should revise foreign treaties in order to restore our equality and independence among the nations.
  9. A republic has been established, and our compatriots in Mongolia, Tibet, Qinghai and Xinjiang, who have always been a part of China, are all now Chinese citizens who are masters of their country.
  10. True is the saying: ‘In order to make the world tranquil and happy, the nation must first be well governed!’
  11. All our compatriots know that the loss of Mongolia would mean the demise of our country. We would rather resist Russia and die heroically than succumb to Russia and perish shamefully.
  12. The goal of the revolution is to achieve the people’s rights, but during the course of the revolution, we must stress military power – and the two are mutually contradictory.
  13. The individual must not be allowed to be overly free, but the country must be entirely free. When the country can exercise freedom, China will have become a mighty and prosperous nation.
  14. For forty years, I have devoted myself to the cause of the people’s revolution with but one aim in view – the elevation of China to a position of freedom and equality among the nations.
  15. When the war was in progress, England and France agreed wholeheartedly with the Fourteen Points. As soon as the war was won, England, France, and Italy tried to frustrate Wilson’s program because it was in conflict with their imperialist policies. As a consequence, the Peace Treaty was one of the most unequal treaties ever negotiated in history.
  16. We intend to try by every means in our power to seize the country and create a government without bloodshed.
  17. This thing called nationalism is a treasure that a country uses to try to develop and a nationality uses to try to survive. China has lost this treasure.
  18. At present, England, America, France, Italy, and Japan constitute the so-called ‘Big Five.’ Even with the rise of Germany and Soviet Russia, the world has only seven Powers. When China becomes strong, she can easily win first place in the Council of Nations.
  19. The government should train and direct the people in their acquisition of political knowledge and ability, thereby enabling them to exercise the powers of election, recall, initiative, and referendum.
  20. We want to overthrow the imperial power not because it is Manchurian but because we want republicanism… We republican revolutionaries can never have the notion of becoming emperors after the revolution, like all the peasant rebels did in the past.
  21. It is the common wish of the people that the autocratic rule of the Manchu government be overthrown, that the Republic of China be strengthened, and that people’s livelihood and welfare be pursued.
  22. When the people share everything in the state, then will we truly reach the goal of the Min Sheng Principle, which is Confucius’ hope of a ‘great commonwealth.’
  23. All my comrades must continue to exert their efforts according to my ‘Programme of National Reconstruction,’ ‘Outline of Reconstruction,’ the ‘Three Principles of the People,’ and the ‘Manifesto’ issued by the First National Congress of our Party, and strive on earnestly for the consummation of the end we have in view.
  24. What problem does Pan-Asianism attempt to solve? The problem is how to terminate the sufferings of the Asiatic peoples and how to resist the aggression of the powerful European countries. In a word, Pan-Asianism represents the cause of the oppressed Asiatic peoples.
  25. We must wait for the official history of the Chinese Revolution to record in greater detail the invaluable work of our Japanese friends.
  26. I have passed English medical examinations in Hong Kong… In my youth, I experienced overseas studies. The languages of the West, its literature, its political science, its customs, its mathematics, its geography, its physics and chemistry – all these I have had the chance to study.
  27. At thirteen, I accompanied my mother to the Hawaiian Islands. There, for the first time, I saw the wonder of a steamship and the vastness of the ocean. From that time on, I was eager to acquire the knowledge of the West and to fathom the mysteries of nature.
  28. We say that a group united and developed in the royal way, by forces of nature, is a race; a group united and developed by way of might, by human forces, is a state. This, then, is the difference between a race or nationality and a state.
  29. As for my religion, I worship Jesus.
  30. The Russians as a people had no point of conflict with the Germans; the conflict came from their respective imperialistic policies. When the Russian people learned that imperialism was historically wrong, they set up a revolution in 1917 and overthrew imperialism at home. They then negotiated for peace separately with Germany.
  31. Revolutionaries were depressed and close to emotional breakdown; after the failure, they left successively.
  32. When only a minority consisting of capitalists can enjoy the good life, while the majority of workers must endure hardship, they will naturally not be able to live together in peace and harmony.
  33. Remember that a civilized nation cannot just have one party; if there were only one party, this would merely be a dictatorship. Politics could not advance.
  34. Our position is extremely perilous; if we do not earnestly promote nationalism and weld together our four hundred millions into a strong nation, we face a tragedy – the loss of our country and the destruction of our race. To ward off this danger, we must espouse nationalism and employ the national spirit to save the country.
  35. It is my idea to make capitalism create socialism in China so that these two economic forces of human evolution will work side by side in future civilization.
  36. We should not underestimate that: the Chinese people’s ignorance. Thousands of years of despotism had been such a poison that their understanding of modern politics is even inferior to that of the black slaves and other immigrants.
  37. The difference between the Chinese workers and foreign workers lies in the fact that the latter are oppressed only by their own capitalists and not by those of other countries.
  38. I began to realize that, in spite of great achievements in wealth and military prowess, the great powers of Europe have not yet succeeded in providing the greatest happiness of the vast majority of the people; and that the reformers in these European countries were working hard for a new social revolution.
  39. One may have broad or narrow talents, but only education renders them useful. Schools set up to train people will develop the intelligence of those who have it and end the stupidity of those who do not, providing a specialty to those who have narrow talent and broad knowledge to those with all-around ability.
  40. At Kobe, whither I fled from Hong Kong, I took a step of great importance. I cut off my cue, which had been growing all my life.
  41. We know a way now to make use of democracy, and we know how to change the attitude of people towards government, but yet the majority of people are without vision. We who have prevision must lead them and guide them into the right way if we want to escape the confusions of Western democracy and not follow in the tracks of the West.
  42. In my International Development Scheme, I propose that the profits of this industrial development should go first to pay the interest and principal of foreign capital invested in it; second to give high wages to labor; and third to improve or extend the machinery of production.
  43. Japan today has become acquainted with the Western civilization of the rule of Might, but retains the characteristics of the Oriental civilization of the rule of Right. Now the question remains whether Japan will be the hawk of the Western civilization of the rule of Might, or the tower of strength of the Orient.
  44. Judging from the experience of the European War, imperialism renders no great benefit to any nation, whereas liberty for all nationalities is the only principle by which humanity will ever be saved.
  45. When the nation can act freely, then China may be called strong. To make the nation free, we must each sacrifice his freedom.
  46. China’s many nationalities need only to be transformed into the Chinese nation and to make it a highly civilized nation; then the nationalization process will be completed.
  47. Those who wish to promote the welfare of the people should advance in solidarity with them and select the path most suitable for them. Since the history of our people is different from that of the people of the West, the steps that the two peoples choose to take in order to advance must also be different.
  48. We shall establish an united Chinese Republic in order that all the peoples – Manchus, Mongols, Tibetans, Tartars, and Chinese – should constitute a single powerful nation.
  49. I am a Christian; God sent me to fight evil for my people. Jesus was a revolutionist; so am I.
  50. After the Manchu government had carried on wars with foreign nations and had been defeated, China was forced to sign many unequal treaties. Foreign nations are still using these treaties to bind China, and as a result, China fails at whatever she attempts.
  51. We should recognize that nationalism does not mean discriminating against people of a different nationality. It simply means not allowing such people to seize our political power, for only when we Han are in control politically do we have a nation.
  52. Which, autocracy or democracy, is really better suited to modern China? If we base our judgment upon the intelligence and the ability of the Chinese people, we come to the conclusion that the sovereignty of the people would be far more suitable for us.
  53. In antiquity, agriculture and industry depended completely on human labor; but now, with the development of natural forces that human labor cannot match, agriculture and industry have fallen completely into the hands of the capitalists. The greater the amount of capital, the more abundant the resources that can be utilized.
  54. Because of poverty, we must adopt the capitalist means of production to develop our resources to get rich. However, if we ignore the issue of social justice at the beginning of China’s industrialization, we will sow the seeds of class warfare in the future.
  55. If China stood on an equal basis with other nations, she could compete freely with them in the economic field and be able to hold her own without failure. But as soon as foreign nations use political power as a shield for their economic designs, then China is at a loss how to resist or to compete successfully with them.
  56. I am a coolie and the son of a coolie. I was born with the poor, and I am still poor. My sympathies have always been with the struggling mass.
  57. We can learn something from Marxist thinking, but we cannot follow Marxist methods.
  58. A political revolution must proceed simultaneously with the nationalist revolution. When we overthrow the Manchu regime, we will achieve not only a nationalist revolution against the Manchus but also a political revolution against monarchy. They are not to be carried out at two different times.
  59. If we want the Republic to be solid, we must first build its foundation. We need not look abroad for this foundation; we should seek it in the hearts of all the people of the nation.
  60. How can human rights be ever developed for the majority of Chinese people? The only way is to organize. To organize workers, peasants, merchants, industrialists, and students at the grassroots level.
  61. Our youths are constantly trying to learn everything the West has to teach, but what is newest in the West has existed in China for thousands of years.
  62. The key to success is action, and the essential in action is perseverance.
  63. The India-China intercourse began from the era of the Eastern Han Dynasty. Both interacted with each other peacefully and conducted scholarly and ideological exchanges. Both loved and admired each other; never had there been a slight clash.
  64. We are the poorest and weakest state in the world, occupying the lowest position in international affairs; the rest of mankind is the carving knife and the serving dish, while we are the fish and the meat.
  65. The Chinese people have only family and clan groups; there is no national spirit. Consequently, in spite of four hundred million people gathered together in one China, we are, in fact, but a sheet of loose sand.
  66. We should use our old moral values and our love of peace as the foundation of national reconstruction and look forward to the day when we shall become leaders in world reconstruction upon lines of international justice and good will.
  67. Two thousand years ago, we abandoned imperialism and militarism. We have been peace-lovers ever since.

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