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President Chen's Address to the National Day Rally

The full text of President Chen's address to the National Day Rally is as follows: 


Today marks the 89th National Day of the Republic of China. I would like to thank all the distinguished guests and overseas Chinese who have come from afar to share with us this solemn moment of joy.

During the almost one hundred years of the history of the Republic of China, from establishing the nation to modernization and democratization, none of the achievements it made came about without our having to overcome many obstacles and difficulties. Success through each stage did not depend on the strength of any single individual or group, but rather came as a result of the awakening of the whole society and the resolve of the entire people.

Likewise, the political and economic achievements of the 23 million people of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu today did not suddenly fall from the sky, but result from the accumulation of the relentless efforts made generation after generation. For the past fifty-odd years, we have, on this island of the Pacific Rim, followed in the footprints of our forefathers to create step by step an economic miracle and set the course for our democracy. These demonstrated inherent strengths of Taiwan and its people have thus repeatedly and inevitably attracted the attention of the world.

We have successfully gone through the stages of hard-won economic development and difficult democratic reform. The Taiwan Experience of the past half century should give us much confidence. Beginning from the time when our ancestors sailed from across the sea to Taiwan hundreds of years ago, and running through the blood of all, from the indigenous peoples to the frontierless e-generation, the Taiwan Spirit is shared by all of our 23 million compatriots.

The Taiwan Spirit originates from the interaction and mutual influence of Han culture and Austronesian islands cultures. It was successfully forged through all of our hardships and dreams. From the shores of the Pacific Ocean to the top of Mount Jade, all the people living on this land spare no effort, wisdom, confidence and hope in order to see the best understanding of this Taiwan Spirit recorded. Although we came from different places, and although there were once differences between the Hoklos, the Hakkas, the indigenous peoples and more recently arrived residents, we are now all merged in the Taiwan Spirit, sharing both our fortunes and mishaps. No matter if we are called "Taiwanese", "Chinese" or "global citizens", we will not confine our vision of the future nor forget where we stand.

My dear fellow countrymen, in the last year of the 20th century, the people of Taiwan completed the first alternation of political parties in power of our history. We are confident that the future will prove that peaceful transition of political power does not simply mean win or lose for any individual or political party. Rather, it is a victory for all people and a victory of democracy. Building on this glorious foundation, we cannot but have more confidence in ourselves in facing the new century.

As we constitute a new paradigm of democracy for all Chinese societies, we should fearlessly strive to move forward on the path of freedom, democracy and human rights. Yet the role of the Republic of China in the 21st Century should not only be that of "the realizer of democracy", but also that of "a protector of peace in the Asia Pacific" and "an active participant in the international community".

In facing the new political scene after the first alternation of political parties in power, we are a bit like the patient after surgery, in need of growing new bone tissue and blood, while at the same time we face both internal and external challenges.

Since May 20, in order to seek the greatest welfare of the people, yet in a very short time, we cautiously but vigorously worked on stabilizing the situation across the Taiwan Strait, preserving our national security, expanding our international space, and weeding out corruption while at the same time promoting good virtues. As a newly established government, we are keenly aware that there are still many things to be improved. I myself, the national leader, as well as all members of the new administration should exercise some self-examination and remain alert all the time. Meanwhile, we would like to once again sincerely plead with all political parties, both ruling and opposition, that they jointly uphold the common ideals of "national interest first, people's welfare first".

The Amis indigenous people of eastern Taiwan hold the belief that the oceans, the rivers, the land, the fruit trees and mothers are the "breeders" of all that is in the universe. They are supreme and cannot be profaned. Pondering carefully and feeling with our hearts the significance of this belief, we can see that it contains the idea of creation, nourishment and tolerance. It is a warm and touching symbolism, which contains no sense of antagonism or hatred. If all things in the universe can thus be created, then why can it not be so for our national future? Reflecting upon the spirit of our ancestors when they crossed the Taiwan Strait from Tangshan, apart from learning from their adventurous courage and creativity, we should always remember the virtues of self-confidence, trust in fellow countrymen, and faith in the land. These are the most solid foundations upon which to build our home.

My dear fellow countrymen, as we celebrate together the founding day of the Republic of China both at home and abroad, we should ponder solemnly upon the common destiny of the 23 million people in Taiwan. Although Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu are only tiny islands in the Pacific, our morale has never been daunted and our vision has never been blocked. "The Taiwan Spirit" will continue to guide and lead us. With this unparalleled confidence, mutual trust and eternal faith, we will create the most spectacular and beautiful Formosa in the 21st Century.

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