Ma Ying-jeou’s National Day Address: A Century of Struggle, a Democratic Taiwan

Good morning to you all!

1. Why we commemorate the Xinhai Revolution

Today is the 100th birthday of the Republic of China, and the 100th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution. It is with a buoyant spirit that we celebrate this occasion and share in the joy of this landmark moment in history. A hundred years ago today, the Wuchang Uprising, guided and set in motion by our founding father Dr. Sun Yat-sen, in one fell stroke toppled the Qing imperial government along with China’s millennia-old monarchical tradition, thus establishing Asia’s first democratic republic—the Republic of China. Today, people in Taiwan and other predominantly ethnic Chinese communities the world over, including mainland China, are commemorating Double Tenth.

It is with deep reverence that we here salute the idealistic, courageous, self-sacrificing revolutionaries of that time. We salute Lu Hao-dong of Guangdong, Huang Xing of Hunan, Qiu Jin of Zhejiang, Lin Jue-min of Fujian, and Luo Fu-xing of Taiwan. These are just a very few of the many heroes who fought to establish the Republic. Since the inception of the Republic 100 years ago, countless numbers of our citizens have perished amid the travails of the Northern Expedition, the War of Resistance against Japan, government action to end the Communist rebellion, and the defense of Taiwan and its outlying islands against invasion by Communist forces. The vast majority of those who gave their lives are nameless heroes who sacrificed their youth and their very existence so that the Republic of China might prosper.

Esteemed friends and fellow citizens: The October 10th uprising is a memory and heritage shared by both sides of the Taiwan Strait. I wish to take this opportunity, therefore, to remind the mainland authorities: In commemorating Double Tenth Day, it must not be forgotten that the aspiration of our founding father Dr. Sun Yat-sen was to establish a free and democratic nation with equitable distribution of wealth. The mainland ought to courageously move in that direction.

In commemorating the Xinhai Revolution, one also must not deliberately cut out certain parts of history, but must bring to light the actual facts of history and face the existence of the Republic of China head-on. The Republic of China’s existence is referred to not in the past tense, but in the present. For the Republic has continued to flourish in Taiwan for more than six decades, radiating its vitality to every corner of the earth. As time goes by, we will continue to flourish and radiate vitality.

2. The Republic of China remakes itself in Taiwan

Esteemed friends and fellow citizens: It was the sacrifice of 20 million soldiers and civilians of the Republic during the War of Resistance against Japan that enabled Taiwan to end Japan’s colonial rule. And had it not been for the retrocession of Taiwan from Japan to the Republic, the setbacks encountered by ROC armed forces in the civil war against the Communists in mainland China might have spelled the death of the Republic more than six decades ago, with no chance for a transformative rebirth or possibility of development of the two sides of the strait along different trajectories.

For more than 60 years now, the Republic of China has ensured the security of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu; safeguarded the viability of Chinese culture; created an economic and a political miracle; and realized the aspirations of early Taiwanese advocates of parliamentary governance. And beyond that, it has proven to the world that democracy can take root, blossom, and bear fruit in a Chinese society.

Today, the people of Taiwan enjoy freedom, democracy, and affluence. They have come to identify solidly with their nation, the Republic of China, and the ROC Constitution has long served as the bedrock of a society-wide consensus. The ideals that Dr. Sun Yat-sen sought in establishing the Republic were not achieved in the mainland during his lifetime, but they have come to full fruition here in Taiwan.

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Today, as we celebrate the ROC Centennial Double Tenth National Day, we take great pride in the Republic, and in Taiwan’s democracy. The vitality and the way of life which today’s Taiwan displays have become benchmarks for Chinese communities worldwide.

Despite its relatively small land area and limited natural resources, Taiwan has pulled itself up by its own bootstraps to become a major economic presence. Its companies are world leaders in the manufacture of high-tech products such as semiconductors, tablet PCs, smartphones, and photovoltaic equipment. Moreover, they have made outstanding contributions to energy conservation and reduction of carbon emissions.

In the 2011 World Competitiveness Yearbook released by Switzerland’s International Institute for Management Development in May, Taiwan ranked No. 6 overall, its best score ever. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 issued in September, Taiwan placed No. 13, our country’s best performance in five years, and occupied first place in eight of the survey’s sub-indices.

Our young people are bursting with talent. They have turned in brilliant performances in the fields of design and invention as well as cultural and creative undertakings. In the six biggest international invention shows, they often walk away with the lion’s share of the prizes. Some 80 percent of the world’s Chinese-language pop music is created in Taiwan, and we have taken a place on the world stage in the fields of cinema, theater, dance, and design. Taiwan moviemakers in particular have made their presence felt. An amazingly talented younger generation is opening up limitless vistas for Taiwan’s movie industry.

The people of Taiwan are compassionate. There are over 40,000 nonprofit organizations with more than a million volunteers who work in anonymity for the greater good throughout Taiwan. More than that, they also travel overseas to provide humanitarian assistance wherever it is needed. Last year, 8 percent of our citizens were blood donors, a ratio ranking among the world’s highest. The people of Taiwan provided financial sponsorship for 300,000 poor children, 200,000 of whom lived overseas. And their annual charitable donations exceed NT$35 billion (US$1.1 billion), most of which comes from people of modest economic means.

In this land, we can see numerous examples of admirable people who have lived out their dreams. The generosity of ordinary people like Chen Chou, Chen Shu-chu, and the army veterans Yin Tien-chia and Hung Chung-hai, is simply stunning. The beloved Dr. Lien Jih-ching is known far and wide for his work in combating malaria in West Africa. Ultra-marathoner Kevin Lin is a tremendous credit to Taiwan. We certainly take pride in the world champion baker Wu Pao-chun, not to mention U.S. baseball major league pitcher Wang Chien-ming, who has returned to the mound after overcoming a debilitating injury. An elderly woman named Yang-Huang Mu-tan, despite her poverty, could not be tempted to keep a huge bundle of money she had found, and food safety official Yang Ming-yu went above and beyond the call of duty to expose a case of tainted foods. In the meantime, film director Wei Te-sheng recently released the brilliant epic “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale.” And last but not least, I cannot go without mentioning world record-breaking LPGA champion Yani Tseng.

In these individuals, we witness the exemplary spirit of kindness, hard work, tenacity, firmness of purpose, and faith—the driving force of Taiwan’s advancement.

Free and democratic. Robust and innovative. Caring and compassionate. Globally engaged and self-confident. Such is our country’s image. Let us applaud this Republic of ours to show our deepest appreciation for the countless heroes who have expended so much energy and sweat for its well-being.

3. New prospects to unfold with a golden decade

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Esteemed friends and fellow citizens: Despite turbulence in the global economy over the past three years, Taiwan has weathered the storm with class, and has emerged considerably more competitive than it had been before. All of our people deserve the credit for this outcome. In the face of the pressure of global competition, the next decade will be a critical period for us. We must strive to fully realize our vision for a golden decade. We must remain confidently engaged with the world, pursuing development through innovation, and moving forward in the spirit of social justice. We need to thoroughly transform the Republic of China, so that it can join the ranks of advanced nations.

Esteemed friends and fellow citizens: Cross-strait peace is an essential condition for Taiwan’s prosperity and development. Over the past three-plus years, our government has pressed for improvement of cross-strait relations under the framework of the ROC Constitution and based on the “1992 Consensus,” whereunder each side adheres to the “one China” principle but is entitled to its own interpretation of what “one China” means. Within this framework, we are maintaining the status quo of “no unification, no independence, and no use of force.” This has greatly relaxed tensions across the Taiwan Strait and garnered the international community’s affirmation and support.

In the past three-plus years, we have signed 15 agreements with mainland China. Each conforms to the principles of parity, dignity, and reciprocity while putting Taiwan first for the benefit of its people. The people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are ethnically Chinese. Our hope is that the two sides will be able—based on a clear-eyed appreciation and acceptance of reality—to seek common ground while respecting differences, assist and cooperate with each other, and build a peaceful relationship within an institutionalized framework.

Mainland China is now Taiwan’s largest trading partner, the largest contributor to our yearly trade surplus, and the largest destination for our investments. In addition, it is a major engine of global economic growth. In order to open up new business opportunities, we must make wise use of Taiwan’s advantages to expand our presence in the mainland market, and we must accelerate efforts to conclude free trade agreements or economic cooperation pacts with other countries. On the 22nd of last month, for example, we signed an investment agreement with Japan. We are also actively negotiating with Singapore on a bilateral economic cooperation agreement. Moreover, this administration seeks to take part in regional economic integration and is working hard to create the conditions necessary to enable Taiwan to join the growing Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement within 10 years.

Moving forward, we will continue to pursue the policy of viable diplomacy. We will seek to further consolidate ties with our diplomatic partners while building high-level trust between this country and nations with which we lack formal diplomatic relations, such as the United States, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and the member states of the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. We also seek to extend our presence in the international community. Ten days ago, for instance, the United Kingdom became the seventh country to sign a youth working holiday agreement with us. Five days ago, the Netherlands also granted ROC citizens visa-free privileges to enter six of its overseas territories. And beginning from the day after tomorrow, Burkina Faso will grant landing visas to ROC passport holders. This brings to 124 the total number of jurisdictions that accord us such treatment, which is 70 more jurisdictions than when I took office. This shows that when a nation is viewed positively by the international community, its people enjoy respect.

Esteemed friends and fellow citizens: In conducting cross-strait relations, we cannot maintain peace through wishful thinking. Only a strong defense can safeguard Taiwan’s security and afford our people the confidence to pursue further improvement in cross-strait relations. During the past three-plus years, we have made great strides forward in enhancing our soldiers’ skills and manufacturing our own weaponry. We have also made a series of purchases of advanced defensive weaponry. Over the next decade, we will continue to beef up our defense capabilities and develop a crack fighting force that meets Taiwan’s defensive needs. We must do this to safeguard the sovereignty of the Republic of China and maintain security in the Taiwan Strait.

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4. Conclusion

Esteemed friends and fellow citizens: When Dr. Sun Yat-sen founded the Revive China Society, only some 20-odd people joined initially, but they stuck to their ideals, dared to put them into practice, and accurately assessed the circumstances facing them. As a result, they succeeded 17 years later in overthrowing the Qing regime and establishing the Republic.

In commemorating the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1911 revolution, we must remain true to the idealistic spirit of the nation’s founding fathers. We cannot allow ourselves to be daunted by adversity. On the contrary, we must have the courage to strike out in bold and pioneering new directions, so that our nation can become “the gold standard” among ethnic Chinese societies. “The Republic of China” is more than the name of a nation; it also stands for a free and democratic way of life, and serves as a model for those living in other ethnic Chinese societies who yearn for freedom and democracy.

The month of October bears special significance for the ROC, but for me it also has a very special personal significance. Sixty years ago in October of 1951, at a time of great turmoil, my parents brought their family, including one-year-old me, from Hong Kong to Taiwan, seeking a life of freedom and tranquility. Never could they have imagined that more than 50 years later their son would have the opportunity to become the ROC president!

I am deeply grateful to this nation, and to this land. I want to do all I can to build Taiwan into a bastion of freedom and prosperity that will continue to nurture future generations and enable every child to realize his or her dreams, regardless how rich or poor their family may be.

During my more than three years as president, I have been keenly aware of my heavy responsibility and have not dared to relax my efforts in the least. Although the global environment is constantly changing and challenges are apt to arise at any moment, I have faith in this land and confidence in its people.

Esteemed friends and fellow citizens: The Republic of China is our nation, and Taiwan is our home. The Republic’s road ahead and Taiwan’s future lie in the hands of our 23 million people. We must unite and work together to make Taiwan more dynamic, more attractive, and more competitive.

Today, regardless of ethnicity and political leanings, and without distinguishing between locals and expatriates, we come together to celebrate the birthday of the Republic of China. We boldly resolve to strengthen Taiwan, reinvigorate the Republic, and lay the foundation for an outstanding second century. Let us transform the Republic of China into a nation that is even more respected by and inspiring to people around the world than it already is.

Let us now proclaim together:
Long live the Republic of China!
Long live Taiwan’s democracy!

Thank you, everyone!

马英九在中华民国100年国庆大会上讲话全文:

百年奋斗·民主台湾

——在中华民国中枢暨各界庆祝100年国庆大会的谈话

马英九

今天是中华民国一百岁生日,也是辛亥革命一百周年,我们以欢欣鼓舞的心情,一起为中华民国庆生,一起分享喜悦,一起跨越这个伟大、感人的时刻。一百年前的今天,国父孙中山先生领导发动震惊世界的武昌起义,一举推翻满清政府与千年帝制,创立亚洲第一个民主共和国——中华民国。今天不仅台湾,世界各地的华人,包括中国大陆,都在纪念辛亥双十。

今天我们要以庄严崇敬的心情,向怀抱理想、不怕牺牲的革命志士致敬。他们包括广东的陆皓东、湖南的黄兴、浙江的秋瑾、福建的林觉民、台湾的罗福星。这些民国英雄,只是少数中的少数。过去一百年,从开国、北伐、抗战、戡乱到保台,不知折损多少仁人志士,他们绝大多数是无名英雄,奉献了青春、牺牲了生命,却照亮了中华民国的天空。

各位先进、各位同胞:辛亥双十是海峡两岸共同的记忆与资产。

因此,英九要藉这个机会,呼吁大陆当局:纪念辛亥双十,就不能忘记国父建国的理想是要建立一个自由、民主、均富的国家,大陆应该勇敢地朝这个方向迈进,也唯有如此,才能缩短两岸目前的距离。纪念辛亥双十,也不能割裂历史,而必须呈现历史原貌,正视中华民国存在的事实。中华民国的存在不是过去式,而是现在进行式,六十多年来中华民国在台湾蓬勃发展,在世界发光发热,未来我们还会继续蓬勃发展,继续发光发热!

各位先进、各位同胞:中华民国在抗战期间,牺牲了二千万军民的生命,台湾才能结束日本殖民统治,回到中华民国版图。如果没有台湾的回归,内战失利后,中华民国很可能在六十多年前就走入历史,没有机会新生,更不可能开启海峡两岸不同的发展历程。

六十多年来,中华民国不仅保障了台澎金马的安全,延续了中华文化的命脉,创造了台湾经济与政治的奇迹,实现了台湾先贤追求议会自治的理想,而且还向世人证明:民主可以在华人社会的土壤中生根、开花、结果。

今天,台湾人民享有自由、民主、富足的生活,也凝聚对国家——中华民国——坚实的认同,中华民国宪法更早已成为全民共识的基础。国父建国的理想,当年在大陆没有机会实施,如今却在台湾完整实现。

今天,我们庆祝中华民国一百年双十国庆,我们深深以中华民国为荣,深深以台湾民主为傲。今天台湾所展现的活力与生活方式,已成为华人世界的标竿。

台湾面积不大,天然资源贫乏,我们却能赤手空拳,开创一片天。今天放眼全球,无论在半导体、平板电脑、智慧型手机或太阳光电方面,台湾产业不但角色重要,并对全球节能减碳贡献卓著。今年5月瑞士国际管理学院(IMD)世界竞争力评比,台湾排名世界第六,是有史以来最好的成绩;今年9月世界经济论坛(WEF)公布全球竞争力评比,我国竞争力分数创五年来最高分,排名全球第十三,其中有8项指标全球第一。

我们的年轻人才华横溢,在设计、发明与文创领域,光芒耀眼,在全球六大发明展中屡屡夺魁。如今全球80%的华语音乐在台湾创作,不论电影、戏剧、舞蹈、设计,我们都已经站上世界舞台。尤其我们的国片掀起一波波热潮,台湾新生代展现惊人的创作潜力,为台湾电影发展开创无限可能。

台湾社会也充满爱心,现在台湾有超过4万个非营利组织,有上百万志工在台湾各角落默默服务,甚至远赴海外,参与国际人道援助。去年我们的捐血率8%,在世界数一数二;我们认养了30万贫童,20万人在国外;每年慈善捐款超过350亿元,绝大多数来自一般人民。

在台湾这块土地上,我们看到很多值得尊敬、实践梦想的英雄。

就像长年默默行善的阿嬷陈绸、陈树菊与老荣民尹殿甲、洪中海、战胜非洲疟疾的连日清、挑战超级马拉松的林义杰、创意烘焙大师吴宝春、康复再起的王建民、拾金不昧的杨黄牡丹、验出塑化剂的杨明玉、拍史诗电影的魏德圣、以及高球天后曾雅妮。从他们身上,我们看到了善良、勤奋与进取,更看到了坚持与希望,这是台湾前进的原动力。

各位先进,各位同胞:自由民主的中华民国、活力创新的中华民国、人文关怀的中华民国、开放自信的中华民国,这就是我们国家的形象。让我们一起为中华民国喝采,向所有曾经为中华民国付出汗水与青春的英雄,表达我们最深的敬意!

近三年来全球经济动荡不安,台湾仍以稳健的步伐,脱困而出,大幅提升国家竞争力,这是全民共同努力的成果。面对全球竞争压力,未来十年将是关键的十年,我们要全面落实黄金十年的愿景,在自信中开放,在创新中发展,在公义中前进,让中华民国彻底脱胎换骨,跻身先进国家之林。

各位先进、各位同胞:两岸和平是台湾繁荣发展的必要条件。过去三年多,政府在中华民国宪法架构下,以“九二共识,一中各表”

为基础,推动两岸关系,维持台海“不统、不独、不武”现状,并得以大幅降低台海紧张,赢得国际社会的肯定与支持。三年多来,我们与大陆签署15项协议,每一项协议都做到了“对等、尊严、互惠”、“以台湾为主,对人民有利”。两岸人民同属中华民族,希望双方在正视现实的基础上,求同存异,互助合作,建立制度化的和平关系。

如今大陆已经是台湾最大的贸易伙伴、顺差来源与投资地区,大陆也是驱动全球经济成长的主要动力。我们要善用台湾优势,布局大陆市场,还要加快脚步,与其他国家洽签自由贸易协定或经济合作协议,为台湾开创新的商机。上月22日,我们与日本签署了投资协议,就是成功的案例。目前我们也正积极与新加坡协商经济合作协议,我们还要参与区域经济整合,努力创造条件,以十年为期,加入正在扩展中的“跨太平洋伙伴(TPP)协定”。

今后我们要继续推动活路外交,更加巩固与邦交国的关系,增进与美国、日本、欧盟、东协、纽澳等无邦交国的高层互信,并扩大国际参与。十天前,英国成为第七个与我国签署青年打工度假协定的国家;五天前,荷兰也给我们6个海外领土的免签证待遇;后天布吉纳法索给我们落地签证待遇将正式生效,使国人享有免签证或落地签证的国家(地区)总数达到124个,比英九上任时增加了70个国家(地区)。各位先进,各位同胞:这显示当国家受到肯定,人民就有尊严。

在推动两岸关系时,台海和平的维系不能一厢情愿,必须以坚实的国防为后盾,台湾安全才有保障,民众才有信心与大陆进一步改善关系。过去三年多,我们在部队训练、武器自制方面都有长足进步,并且多次成功采购先进的防卫性武器。未来的十年,我们将持续强化国防力量,打造精锐新国军,以扞卫中华民国主权,保卫台湾安全。

各位先进、各位同胞:国父当年成立“兴中会”时,成员只有二十几位,可是他们坚持理想、勇于实践,掌握了时代的脉动,十七年后竟然推翻满清,建立民国。

今天我们纪念辛亥双十,就要继承先烈先贤这种理想主义,不怕风雨,勇于开创,让我们的国家成为华人世界的典范。中华民国不只是国家的名字,也代表了自由民主的生活方式,对向往自由民主的华人地区也将产生示范作用。

光辉的十月,对英九而言,还有一项特殊意义。六十年前的十月,在风雨飘摇中,我的父母带着家人和一岁多的我,从香港来到台湾,追求自由安定的生活。他们万万没有想到,他们的儿子在五十多年后会成为中华民国总统。对这个国家、对这块土地,我怀着深深感恩的心情,我愿意奉献此生一切,努力建设台湾,让她成为自由繁荣的乐土,继续哺育我们的下一代,让每一个孩子,不论出身贫富,都能实现梦想。

就任总统三年多来,英九体会责任的艰巨,不敢丝毫松懈。虽然世局多变,挑战随时出现,但我对这块土地有信心,对人民有信心。

各位先进、各位同胞:中华民国是我们的国家,台湾是我们的家园。中华民国的前途与台湾的未来掌握在我们二千三百万人的手中,我们要团结、要奋斗,让台湾更有活力,更有魅力,也更有竞争力!

今天我们不分族群,不分党派,不分海内外,一起为中华民国庆生。我们要发下宏愿,一定要在我们的手中壮大台湾、振兴中华,为中华民国下一个精彩百年,打下基础。让中华民国在国际社会,成为一个更加受人尊敬、让人感动的国家!

现在,让我们一起高呼:

中华民国万岁!台湾民主万岁!

谢谢大家!

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