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President Lee's Message to the Taiwan Retrocession Day
1997-10-24

President Lee Teng-hui today gave a message on the Taiwan Retrocession Day. The full text of his Taiwan Retrocession Day message is as follows:

 

My Dear Fellow Countrymen:

 

May peace be with you.

 

Tomorrow is Taiwan Retrocession Day. For all the people of Taiwan, this is historically the most significant memorial day. It symbolizes an end to misery as well as the beginning of a new epoch and a new chapter in our history.

 

During the past 52 years, we have toiled on this land to build a democracy, a prosperous economy and a pluralistic society--an achievement known worldwide as the "Taiwan Experience." This success has come from the industrious, determined, frugal and pragmatic "Taiwan Spirit" with which we dauntlessly meet any hardship and challenge, and as a result of "Taiwan Magnanimity" with which we commit ourselves to peace, brotherhood and mutual accommodation of different origins and backgrounds. This spirit and magnanimity have cohered to cultivate, in our population, a sense of "Gemeinschaft," which inspires our people to share weal and woe in weathering through all the difficulties and challenges of the past 52 years.

 

Although we should be proud of past achievements that have earned us worldwide acclaims, numerous obstacles lie ahead for us to overcome in the future. To create a larger framework for national development and to build a more beautiful homeland for the coming generations, we must remain united as before and continuously pursue progress. We must begin with constitutional, administrative, judicial and educational reforms, in order to carry out social re-engineering. These endeavors seek to ensure dignity of life for our people as well as equity and justice in our society, so that we can lay a solid foundation for the lasting security of our nation and the well-being of our people.

 

All of these reforms, I believe, must start from spiritual reformation for them to be completely effective. Only through deep introspection, arousal of our innate conscience and rediscovery of the true meaning of life, can we affirm ourselves, show respect for others, love the land on which we live, shape our collective prospects with love and concern, restore harmony in our society, and pursue greater development under stability.

 

Therefore, we should develop benevolence and love through showing respect and concern for others; cultivate rule of law through obedience to the law and ethics; enrich our daily life through hard work, frugality and order; raise our human potential through efficiency and quality; and promote social peace through communication and harmony. By doing so, we can uplift the "Taiwan Experience" to a higher stage.

 

My fellow countrymen, we have collectively written, with sweat and tears, the first stage of the "Taiwan Experience," a glorious chapter in our history. Together, with love and hope, we can paint the bright prospects of the second stage of the "Taiwan Experience." The meaning and value of history lie in learning from past experiences to create a better tomorrow. On this historically meaningful Taiwan Retrocession Day, we should commemorate our forebears for their sacrifice, struggle and contributions. But more importantly, we must resolve to continue striving for the establishment of a beautiful homeland filled with amity, peace, happiness and stability for our future and for the well-being of generations to come.

 

In closing, I wish all of you good health and happiness. Thank you.

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