Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall is a multi-purpose exhibition centre dedicated to the Founding Father of the Republic of China. As well as a statue of Sun and memorabilia of his life, the hall also plays host a variety of performances and exhibitions.
The hall is situated in the beautiful Chung Shan Park, a charming little respite from busy Taipei. It's also a great spot for views of Taipei 101, and never-ending streams of tourists photographing it.
|Lake Ciu, Chung Shan Park (Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall)|
The hourly changing of the guards ceremony is a popular tourist attraction.
|Like most spots on the Chinese tourist trail, practitioners of Falun Dafa come here to protest the treatment of their fellow members in China, and to present a perspective on the martial art not likely to be seen in China.|
Sun Yat Sen was the much-revered leader of the Chinese revolution which overthrew the Qing Dynasty, replacing it with the Republic of China. He served (briefly) as presidents of both the ROC, and the Koumintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) which was voted in as its first government in 1912-13. He never lived to see the ROC conquer most of modern-day China. He spent much of his adult life exiled in Japan, Europe and the USA, raising funds to support the revolution.
Following its defeat to the People's Republic of China after World War II, the Republic of China retreated to Taiwan (taking it from Japan, which surrendered it after WWII), from which point it has ruled Taiwan as a government of China in exile ever since. However, while the Republic of China still officially claims to rule China, Taiwan and parts of Mongolia, for all practical purposes the Republic of China controls the island of Taiwan (and Matsu and Kinmen) and rules it as a separate political entity, commonly recognised as Taiwan, while the People's Republic of China 'is' China. Whether or not Taiwan should continue as "Taiwan, ROC" or officially become the proposed Republic of Taiwan, or another political entity to better reflect Taiwanese identity, is a very sensitive issue, especially with the very real threat of invasion from China if Taiwan changes its political status.
Father of Taiwan?
Sun Yat Sen is widely revered in China and in Taiwan, particularly among those who identify themselves as descendents of the Kuomintang refugees (mostly soldiers and bureaucrats) who fled to Taiwan after the civil war. However, Sun never visited Taiwan himself, and for the politically significant part of his life it was part of Japan, so his status of the 'National Father' of modern-day Taiwan is debatable. Nonetheless the man certainly enjoys respect as a great leader of 20th-century China, and there certainly isn't the animosity and resentment towards him that there is towards former Chinese dictator Chiang Kai Shek. His memorial hall is most certainly worth a visit, both to learn about 20th-century Chinese Politics and to enjoy the tranquil gardens of Chung Shan Park.
Take the blue line to Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, Exit 3.
Taipei 101 is a short walk away.
|Taipei 101 as seen from Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall.|