Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 7:00 a.m., Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Father of modern China celebrated in Hawaii

Associated Press

Officials yesterday celebrated the 141st anniversary of the birth of Sun Yat-sen, the father of modern China, by unveiling a statue of the revolutionary leader at a downtown Honolulu park.

Sun spent his teenage years in Honolulu, after which he returned home to lead the successful revolution against imperial China. He's revered today in both Beijing and Taipei.

The bronze-colored statue shows Sun at age 13, carrying two books and wearing a high-collared Chinese-style jacket.

The Dr. Sun Yat-sen Hawaii Foundation commissioned the $150,000 statue, which stands on a a mound in a downtown Honolulu park recently renamed for Sun.

Feng Yurong, the vice mayor of Zhongshan, the Chinese city where Sun was born on Nov. 12, 1866, was on hand to dedicate the statue with Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

Zongshan and Honolulu today are sister cities.

Sun first came to O'ahu in 1879 at age 13 to join an older brother and uncle.

He graduated from Iolani School in 1882 and then attended Oahu College — now known as Punahou School — for one semester.

Sun made six trips to Hawai'i during his lifetime, and spent a total of seven years here. In 1894, he founded the Hsing Chung Hui (Revive China Society) in Honolulu, and it became a key financial force behind the revolution.

Many historians believe Sun gained an appreciation for Western-style government during his Hawai'i years that fueled his desire for change in his homeland.

The park, on the corner of Hotel and Bethel streets, was known as Chinatown Gateway Park until earlier this year when the city changed the name to Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park.