By Assunta Ng
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
“Who was Dr. Sun Yat-sen?” the younger generation might ask? Dr. Sun was the founding father of modern China, leader of a revolution to overthrow the Qing Dynasty in 1911. Like George Washington, the first president of the United States, Sun was the first president of the Republic of China.
On July 21, a group of Chinese community members unveiled a life-sized statue of Sun, located at the Chong Wa Benevolent Association building front, at 522 7th Avenue South. Sun’s granddaughter Dr. Lily Sun, 83, flew from Hawaii to attend the ceremony.
Sun visited Seattle in 1913 or 1914 after the revolution to raise money for China, according to elderly Chinese who told me in the 1970s. Later, his supporters set up his political party headquarters, Kuomintang, in Chinatown, now the current address of Fortuna Restaurant, on 711 South King Street. Kuomintang was closed after defaulting on rent, said the late Jimmy Mar, a community leader. The statue is now a block from the former Kuomintang location.
Lily has worked tirelessly to promote his grandfather’s legacy. She has donated 230 statues of Sun, in 13 different countries.
Made in China, Sun’s statue arrived three years ago. The challenge for the organizing committee was to find a suitable site.
Chinese community leaders offered the city to place the statue close to the Union Station and the Seattle Chinese Chinatown Historical Gate. But the City of Seattle declined.
Both King County and Washington state donated over $14,000 for the production of the statue and its base.
Over 200 people gathered at the House of Hong Restaurant to celebrate the unveiling ceremony. Several tourists visited the statue over the weekend to take photos.
Assunta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.