Although some aspects of Chinese culture has been severely neglected and abused over the 20th century, other aspects remain eternal in Chinese society. One enduring trait is appreciation for traditional calligraphy.
While no Chinese political leader can point to penmanship as being the source of power, it’s no exaggeration to say cultivated writing attracts attention and admiration, while poor writing form invites suspicion and scorn. Here is a collection of calligraphy from notable Chinese leaders of the 20th (and now 21st) century, in chronological order:
Sun Zhongshan, founder of the Chinese republic (here with his earlier name, Sun Wen). “Everything for the public.”
Another from Sun Zhongshan: “World trends, enormous and powerful. Those who follow them will thrive. Those who resist them will die.”
Mao Zedong, founder of the People’s Republic of China: A poem to an old classmate, written in 1955 (毛泽东图书馆)
Another from Mao Zedong: A poem written in 1936, as Mao Zedong led the Red Army into Shanxi. (沁园春•雪)
Jiang Jieshi, former President of the Republic of China: A quote used to describe the Huangpu Military Academy during the Republican Revolution years, “The blood of past martyrs allows idealism to flower”.
Deng Xiaoping, credited with ending three decades of isolation for the PRC, and beginning China’s “opening up and reform” period: remarks confirming support for the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, in 1984 (邓小平深圳题词)
Another from Deng Xiaoping: Encouraging workers working on the Tibet/Sichuan expressway. (Updated: 连接)
Ma Yingjiu, current President of the Republic of China: “Spread Chinese culture, advance world peace”
Hu Jintao, current President of the PRC, and General Secretary of the Communist Party: An idiom meaning, “rise high and look far”. (高瞻远瞩)
Wen Jiabao, current Premier of the PRC: Written to a volunteer at the Beijing Olympics (连接)