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Sun Yat-sen not born in US: KMT

The China Post news staff--The United States may have a document to show that Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China, had U.S. citizenship, but his birth in China's Guangdong Province remains an undisputable truth, an official from the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) said yesterday.

His Hawaiian birth certificate was an expedient measure taken when he was in the thick of the revolution to overthrow the Ching Dynasty, Shao Ming-huang, curator of the KMT Historical Archive, said yesterday.

According to a spokeswoman for the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Sun Yat-sen was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, as attested by a 1904 official U.S. immigration document.

The fate of the revolution was in the balance in 1904, a decade after Sun's founding of the Revive China Society (興中會), when some overseas Chinese leaders suggested to him he had better obtain U.S. citizenship if he wanted to move about freely and to continue seeking support for his revolution in the United States, Shao said.

Sun was then a wanted man in China and was harassed by royalists in the United States, he added.

Some overseas Chinese leaders and Sun's relatives in San Francisco worked together to help Sun secure a Hawaiian birth certificate and, subsequently, a U.S. citizenship, Shao continued.

“This is of course an expedient measure adopted in the interest of the revolution. As such, it cannot change the fact that he was born in Tsui-heng Vilage (翠亨村),” Shao was quoted as saying.

Chinese historians generally accept that Sun Yat-sen was born on November 12, 1866 in Tsui-heng Village, Hsiang-shan County in China's Guangdong Province.

According to Sheila Paskman, the AIT spokeswoman, a document issued by the U.S. Immigration Agency, found in the U.S. National Archive, shows that Sun was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. As such, Sun was a U.S. citizen and could freely enter and exit the United States, she said.

The document will be displayed in a July 4 “Dr. sun Yat-sen and the United States” exhibition to mark the centenary of founding of the R.O.C., Paskman continued, adding the United States is trying to get hold of Dr. Sun's Honolulu birth certificate.

Sun was in Hawaii from age 13 till 17 as a young student, and that's why he chose to apply for his U.S. birth document there, Shao said, adding the date “November 14, 1870” was chosen to signify the foundation of Sun's Revive China Society on November 14, 1904.

Dr. Sun attended the Oahu College, now renamed Punahou School, in Honolulu while he was there. U.S. President Barack Obama also is an alumnus of the school.

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