The first stop of Lian’s ‘Journey of Peace’ was the Mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yat-sen in Nanjing. Dr Sun fought against the Qing government and founded the Republic of China after the 1911 revolution which ended the monarchy. The tomb was constructed in January of 1926 and completed in spring of 1929.
Perhaps Lian was in a good mood, he wrote on the spot a piece of four-word Chinese calligraphy which says ‘Zhong Shan Mei Ling’ in Chinese. It means ‘Beautiful Mausoleum of Zhong Shan’ – Zhong Shan is an alternative name of Dr. Sun Yat-sen. The calligraphy was displayed for everyone to see at the request of the media.
Chinese calligraphy is a unique Chinese art that is very popular among the Chinese. It is also well liked by many people of high position in the society. But to write it on the spot, a person must have practiced the art for a long time, and be confident in his writing skills.
As a politician, especially a Chinese politician, everything he does is interpreted politically. It is therefore not surprising that his on-the-spot calligraphy writing has brought about enthusiastic discussions among the Chinese in the mainland.
Many pointed out that as the word ‘mei’ (beauty) was written short of one horizontal stroke, which refers to the fact that Taiwan has not re-unified with mainland China yet, and it is really a blemish in an otherwise perfect thing.
It was aslo said that the fact that the word ‘Ling’ (tomb) is short of one diagonal stroke has a deeper meaning. The lower right component of the word is supposed to be written as a reversed ‘wen’, but Mr Lian, by omitting the diagonal stroke, did not write it as such. As ‘wen’ is another alternative name of Dr Sun, it shows that Mr Lian is not anti-Dr Sun. He actually supports Dr Sun, and still cherishes deep memory of him.
The first word of his name was written in its original form, which is normal for a person lives in Taiwan. However, the second word of his name zhan (fighting) was written in simplified form, which is the official form used by mainland Chinese. The left component of the word was written as zhan (占occupy) instead of dan(单on its own, alone). This was interpreted as he has dropped the idea of fighting on his own. In other words, he tries to imply that the Taiwanese and mainland Chinese are as close as flesh and blood, and this fact will never change. Put it simply, Taiwanese will not want to fight alone (without mainland?) any more.
There were others who praised the calligraphic skills of Lian Chan. The word ‘Zhong’ (centre) is well written, proper and upright. The word shan (mountain) is also well written, and the best is the word mei (beauty). The whole piece is well composed; so well that it has surpassed all others of its kind before and since.
I shall quote no more, it is best to let our readers judge for themselves.
Note: Readers with little or no knowledge of Chinese writing system may find it rather difficult to understand the last few paragraphs above. What the mainland Chinese are trying to say is that Mr Lian Chan wishes that Taiwan will re-unify with China, and this shows up unconsciously even in his calligraphic work.