Columbus Park

Dr. Sun Yat-sen Monument and Plaza

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

Dr. Sun Yat-sen was born in 1866 in China during the Qing Dynasty. His early education in China, Hawaii, and Hong Kong established him as a man of two worlds—China and the West—where he learned the essentials about democracy, which became his guiding principles. 

Inspired by the American Revolution Dr. Sun envisioned a free and democratic China and became a pioneer in its reform. He founded the Hsing-Chung Hui (Revive China Society), a secret revolutionary organization in Hawaii, and organized the T'ung-Meng Hui (Revolutionary Alliance). He traveled widely to other countries promoting his philosophy. In 1911, he and his allies overthrew the repressive regime, ending 5,000 years of Chinese imperial rule.

Dr. Sun was elected the first Provisional President of the Republic of China, and established the organizational rule of government and the country’s laws. Yet his term in office was brief. Military warlords in Northern China forced him to step down in 1912, but Dr. Sun continued to fight for a free and unified China, proclaiming his "Three Principles of the People" (Nationalism, Democracy, and the People's Livelihood) as the country’s foundation. He also created the Five-Yuan Constitution, the guidelines for a new Chinese political system.

In 1925, Dr. Sun died in Beijing. In China and throughout the world Dr. Sun is remembered for his bravery, wisdom, and dedication to the ideals of democracy.

In 2019, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association commissioned the permanent monument honoring Dr. Sun and the north plaza was renamed in Dr. Sun’s honor. Facing east, the sculpture by Lu Chun-Hsiung depicts Dr. Sun ruminating on the unstable state of affairs during the victorious revolution, and wearing a Tang jacket with Manchurian dress that represents the merging of China’s diverse ethnic groups. The combination of a creaseless costume of the East with Western-style shoes connotes the cultural fusion of East and West.

Inscribed on the pedestal is the Confucian motto “All Under Heaven Are Equal” rendered in Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s own calligraphy with his personal stamp adjacent.

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