On October 5, the centennial National Day celebration for the Republic of China was held at the Grand Ballroom of the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront Hotel. Director-General Jack K.C. Chiang and his wife greeted approximately 1,500 guests who attended the evening reception, including representatives from the States of Utah, Nevada and California.
As guests waited their turn to talk to the director-general and Mrs. Jack Chiang, they were treated to exhibits of gorgeous glassworks from Liuli Glass Art, distinctive potteries from Franz Porcelain, elaborate orchid arrangements from McLellan Botanicals and treats from Ten Ren Tea.
The evening officially started with a lion dance performed by eight lions. It was followed by the American anthem sung in acappella, a beautiful blending of harmonies and melodies from three female voices. It was followed by a lovely duet of the Republic of China’s anthem.
From the stage, the director-general welcomed the attendees to the centennial anniversary celebration of the republic founded by Sun Yat-sen. “Today, we remember our history and celebrate our accomplishments – one based on freedom, justice and human rights. We take pride in the journey to get here and safeguard these privileges for the future generations. This annual commemoration serves to remind us of our ideals and the aspirations shared by the global community for a just world.”
Chiang continued to talk about Taiwan’s strengths, “Despite the global financial downturn, Taiwan’s economic growth rate was 10.9%, a formidable achievement, ranked second in Asia and 4th in the world… With the signing the ECFA, a free-trade-like agreement that took effect on January 1 this year, it opened a new chapter of cross-strait relations with mainland China. ECFA has reduced tensions and advanced prosperity, benefiting both Taiwan and mainland China economically. I believe the future is even more promising.”
Though, the director-general cautioned that it does not mean that Taiwan should relax its guard against China, since China’s military buildup continues. He expressed the need to engage China from a place of strength and thanked Washington for green lighting the retrofitting of Taiwan existing F-16. Chiang paraphrased President Reagan by explaining, “Peace is made by the fact of strength and peace is lost when such strength disappears.”
He noted that relations across the Taiwan Strait have improved significantly since President Ma Ying-jeou assumed office three years ago by mentioning that the citizens of Taiwan can now travel to 124 countries visa-free. Near the end of his speech, he rallied the crowd by exclaiming that Taiwan has no “better friend” than the United States, to the cheers of the audience. In closing, he asked attendees to raise their glass to toast the US and Taiwan and their respective leaders.
In honor of the centennial celebration of the Republic of China, the San Francisco Public Library will be hosting an exhibition about Sun Yat-sen’s life and his efforts to establish Asia’s first democracy. The “Sun Yat-sen: His Life and Legacy” exhibition will be on display from October 11 to January 12, 2012 at the San Francisco Public Library (Main Branch, Chinese Center, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco). For more information about the exhibition, please visit the library’s website at http://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=1008039901.