The 100th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution is a good occasion to review the real motivation behind China's pursuit of success in recent history. This motivation changes along with the times.
When it became evident that the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) would fall victim to its self-made doom, saving the country became the central mission of all Chinese people, especially because of the mounting threat from the West and the strong sense of crisis the people felt.
The 1911 Revolution ended with the demise of the Qing Dynasty, marking the death of more than 2,000 years of feudal autocratic monarchy in the country and the founding of the Republic of China.
Ideological emancipation began with the 1911 Revolution and the pioneers of modern China, with their new outlook, began exploring a new path for the country. This was a good start for the anti-colonial, anti-feudal national democratic revolution.
Although the revolution did not change the nature of old China's society and the pathetic life of the people drastically, it opened the gate for China's progress toward a modern country. The meaning of the revolution resounds even after 100 years.
After the revolution, recovering the war-torn country became the priority of the entire population. Sun Yat-sen first called for national consensus to develop the nation and catch up with the developed countries.
Boasting of 5,000 years of civilization, the Chinese people started building a prosperous and well-governed country that would benefit all citizens. Sun Yat-sen's proposal struck a chord with the Chinese people regardless of their political, religious and economic backgrounds.
Since the entire nation reached an agreement, the "sleeping lion" started coming out of its slumber. But a single action was not enough to reinvigorate China, nor could China awaken in a short period of time. It required time to unite the efforts of hundreds of millions of people. As Sun Yat-sen put it: "It is our task to reform and develop China until the end of times. If we die one day, the will should be carried on. If we fail, we should draw lessons from the failure and not be daunted by difficulties. As long as we are dedicated to following the trend of the world's progress and our principle, we will see success one day."
How far is final success from us? It has taken 100 years just to measure the distance.
Historians say the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution should be seen in a broader perspective. The 100 years before and 200 years after the revolution both should be considered to understand the importance of historic events. From these 300 years, we can gain a basic understanding of the meaning and direction of China's development.
If the 100 years before the 1911 Revolution are regarded as a declining period for China, the 100 years after the revolution have seen China overcome all kinds of difficulties. The Communist Party of China (CPC) has led (and will continue to lead) the Chinese people toward a new China and opened a new era for the old country. Remarkable achievements have been made on way to China's socialist construction with Chinese characteristics.
The key to final success lies in the next 100 years. The inspiration that the Chinese people have got from the past 200 years can help them find the key to realizing the dream for generations.
If all Chinese people join their efforts to overcome the setbacks and difficulties and continue the journey that started with the 1911 Revolution, the final success of China's development will certainly be realized in the next 100 years.
(The author is the first vice-president of the Central Institute of Socialism.)