Adding Portraits of Dr. Sun, Deng Xiaoping to RMB Notes Proposed

China's political advisors have proposed to print the head portraits of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, forerunner of China's democratic revolution, and Deng Xiaoping, chief architect of China's reform and opening-up, on the bank notes of the Chinese currency, the Renminbi (RMB) or yuan.

"Dr. Sun had led the democratic revolution which toppled the 2,000-year-old feudal imperial system, and was the founding father of China's republican system," said Hu Zhibin, a member of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top advisory body in its annual full session in Beijing.

"Dr. Sun has been admired by people across the Taiwan Straits and Chinese all over the world, and he certainly deserves a place on the RMB notes," Hu added.

Hu and 11 of his colleagues have submitted a proposal regarding the issue to the ongoing session.

The proposal coincided with the commemoration of the 81st anniversary of the demise of Dr. Sun (1866-1925), which falls on Sunday, March 13. The anniversary was marked in several places in the Chinese mainland, including Sun's hometown in Guangdong Province and Beijing and Shanghai, as well as in Taiwan, where the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) party founded by Sun is based.

In two other separate proposals submitted to the CPPCC session, advisors Duan Huijun and Gu Xinyi have called for paying tribute to late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997) by putting his head portrait on the RMB notes.

"We owe our sustained, rapid economic growth and constantly rising international status over the past decades to Deng Xiaoping, who initiated the reform and opening-up drive in the late 1970s," wrote Duan in his proposal.

It is an international practice for a nation to print the portraits of its outstanding leaders of different historical periods on bank notes so the proposal shouldn't be viewed as a sort of "personal cult," said Gu.

As the core of China's second generation of leadership, Deng had repeatedly warned against the danger of personal cult to the party and state, saying that the overheated cult for China's late Chairman Mao Zedong, who founded the People's Republic of China in 1949, was one of the factors to blame for the ten-year political and social tumult during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

Most RMB notes in circulation in China today bear the image of Mao. The country's latest set of RMB notes, the fifth since 1948, choose Mao's head portrait as the main pattern on the front side of all six pieces, with the face value of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 yuan respectively.

(Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2006)

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