Where neither religion nor philosophy can serve to maintain a healthy spirit and a moral basis for society, a vigorous national patriotism has sometimes served as a substitute. But the empire destroyed patriotism; it was cosmopolitan in its tendencies, and swamped the narrow but very real devotion to the city, which had been the main source of the strength of the earlier republic. Patriotism needs stress and adversity to develop its best features. It almost presupposes that the state has dangerous enemies and aspirations that have yet to be fulfilled. But under the empire the Romans absorbed all their old neighbors and foes; Syrian and Spaniard, Briton and Numidian, were all made Romans of a sort. There was no peril from the external barbarian for two hundred years. The Parthian Empire was slowly dwindling in strength; the Germans had not yet learnt to combine; they might perhaps check an invading army they could be no serious danger to the state. In short, there was no adequate object against which the patriotic impulse could be directed, and it gradually dwindled away into a vague and unfruitful pride. When external matters at last became serious, in the third century after Christ, there is no trace whatever of any sense of national duty among the heterogeneous “Romans” of the day.
This is our hope. This is the faith which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
The Chinese nation is known throughout the world not only for its industriousness and stamina, but also for its ardent love of freedom and its rich revolutionary traditions. The history of Han people, for instance, demonstrates that the Chinese never submit to tyrannical rule but invariably use revolutionary means to overthrow or change it in the thousands of years of Han history, there have been hundreds of peasant uprisings, great and small, against the dark rule of the landlords and the nobility. And most dynastic changes came about as a result of such peasant uprisings. All the nationalities of China have resisted foreign oppression and have invariably resorted to rebellion to shake it off. They favor a union on the basis of equality but are against the oppression of one nationality by another. During the thousands of years of recorded history, the Chinese nation has given birth to many national heroes and revolutionary leader. Thus the Chinese nation has a glorious revolutionary tradition and a splendid historical heritage.
Comrades and Friends! The world needs peace. The people want cooperation. Nations aspire for development. Society seeks progress. This is the trend of our times. In the last century, mankind underwent the scourge of two world wars and endured the hardships of the Cold War and confrontation, thus paying a heavy price. The people of China and of all other countries hate to see any new hot war or cold war or turmoil break out in any part of the world, hate to see any country or group of countries pushing hegemonism and power politics and hate to see any further widening of the development gap between North and South or the gap between the rich and the poor. The people of China and the rest of the world all long for a lasting world peace and for a stable and peaceful life. They aspire for a fair and rational new international order and for democracy in international relations. They yearn for common development and prosperity for all and are willing to work together for a better future.