Beijing: Vowing not to allow anyone to rip out any part of Chinese territory, President Xi Jinping on Friday called for unity between China and Taiwan under the leadership of the ruling Communist Party, amid political turmoil in Hong Kong and growing pro-independence sentiment in Taiwan.
"I call on all Chinese who revere Sun Yat-sen, including compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan as well as overseas Chinese, to unite, no matter what their political affiliations are," Xi told a gathering of top officials and military officers at the Great Hall of the People.
Chinese should unite in pursuit for a rejuvenated China Sun dreamt about, Xi said while commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of Sun, one of China's influential leaders in overthrowing monarchy before the advent of Mao Zedong.
But at the same Xi, who is the General Secretary of the CPC and head of the military besides being President, said to love the country, the Chinese people should uphold the leadership of the CPC, the socialist system in China, and socialism with Chinese characteristics developed under the CPC's leadership.
"Sun Yat-sen unequivocally opposed any remarks or actions that attempted to split the country or the nation," Xi was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.
Quoting Sun, Xi said that united, the people of the entire country benefit; disunited, people suffer.
"All activities that intend to divide the country will certainly be firmly opposed by all Chinese people. We will never allow anyone, any organisation, any party to split off any tract of territory from China anytime, or in any way," Xi said.
"The best way we commemorate Sun is to learn and carry forward his invaluable spirit, to unite all that can be united and mobilise all that can be mobilised to carry on the pursuit for a rejuvenated China that he had dreamed of," Xi said.
It is rare for the CPC leaders to pay tribute to non-Communist leaders.
Born in 1866, Sun was the founder leader of the Kuomintang Party, which remained a prominent political party in Taiwan after the island parted from China following the rise of the Communist Party of China headed by Mao.
Sun, who founded the Republic of China after the Qing Dynasty was toppled in the 1911 revolution, is also revered in Taiwan, which the mainland considers a breakaway province.
Xi's appeal for unity was significant as Taiwan's new President Tsai Ing-Wen was elected this year defeating Ma Ying-Jeou who promoted normalisation of ties between the two sides in the election early this.
In his speech, Xi said CPC members are the firmest supporters, most loyal collaborators and most faithful successors of Sun's revolutionary undertakings.
"Today, we are closer, more confident and more able to achieve national rejuvenation than ever before," Xi said.
"With lots of challenges and difficulties ahead, there is still a long way to go until we have truly modernised the country, revitalised the nation and realised the common prosperity of all Chinese," Xi added.