The legendary founder and first President of the Republic of China, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, returned to Cleveland, Ohio, one hundred and three years after traveling here in 1911 during his Chinese revolutionary war fundraising trip. Margaret W. Wong, Esq., President and Managing Partner of the Margaret W. Wong & Associates immigration law firm, was there to welcome him.
Han Ze Shang, vice mayor of Zhongshan, China, accompanied a bronze likeness of the founder of the Republic of China. She and Margaret Wong unveiled the statue at the revitalized Old Chinatown at East 21st and Rockwell.
(Unveiling the statue) (Margaret W. Wong with the Vice Mayor of Zhongshan, Han Ze Shang)
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen had traveled to Cleveland in the early twentieth century to solicit financial assistance from the already large and prosperous Chinese American population. Dr. Yat-Sen would subsequently use those contributions to wage a revolutionary war to overthrow the Qing Dynasty in China, his birth country, and from which he had been exiled for more than 15 years due to his revolutionary actions.
Cleveland’s Old Chinatown, in the original On Leong Chinese Merchants Association Building on Rockwell, began its rebirth in 2009 when area Chinese American leaders formed Cleveland Chinatown Development, to revitalize the property.
In April 2013, a delegation representing the Cleveland Chinese Friendship Council, an association of interested parties working to establish an official Sister City relationship between the City of Cleveland and the City of Zhongshan, China, visited China.
Now, courtesy of Zhongshan, China, the Zhongshan Merchant Association has unveiled its new office in the On Leong Chinatown building, next to Emperor’s Palace, a restaurant of fine dining, a Buddhist temple, and under several floors of apartments planned to house Cleveland State University students from China.
(The delegation from Zhongshan and Cleveland) (Margaret W. Wong and Judy Wong)
Margaret Wong said, “I’m so excited to see this building, a rich example of Cleveland and Chinese American heritage, come back to life. So many Clevelanders of all heritages have worked long and hard for this moment. And now we truly have a little piece of China in Cleveland.”
Cleveland dot com wrote, “Han Ze Sheng said she found it appropriate to present his likeness to Cleveland, as Zhongshan has sent so many of its sons and daughters here for new lives.
‘After 100 years, we are glad to see that Zhongshanese are so much involved in the local community and so recognized by the city,’ she said, according to a translation of her toast. ‘We are so proud of you!’”