China's communist leaders are planning for the first time to mark Taiwan's Oct. 10 National Day with a major celebration aimed at lowering Taipei's resistance to the mainland's conciliatory gestures, according to diplomatic sources here.
Chinese officials planning the festivities, diplomats said, have even considered taking down Mao Tse-tung's portrait from the entrance of Tiananmen Square and replacing it for the day with a picture of Sun Yat-sen, who led the 1911 Nationalist Chinese revolution against the last dynasty.
Diplomats said that the celebration here also might include a more balanced official reevaluation of Chiang Kai-shek, who set up the Nationalist Chinese government on Taiwan after the Communists grasped control of the mainland in 1949.
Peking already has sent out invitations all over the world to the relatives of important Chinese historical figures, asking them to return for the Communists' unprecedented celebration of the Nationalist Chinese revolution, according to nonofficial Chinese sources.
The Bank of China earlier this week announced plans to issue special gold and silver coins commemorating the anniversary. One side will bear a full-length etching of Sun, and the other a portrayal of a famous Nationalist Chinese Army battle during the revolutionary fighting.
The Oct. 10 National Day -- called "Double 10" -- normally is marked by parties and parades in Taiwan and by stony silence on the mainland, which considers the Oct. 1, 1949, revolution led by Mao's Communists to be the true national day of China.
This year, however, Peking has decided to give important billing to the 70th anniversary of the Nationalist revolution as part of its diplomatic strategy to woo back Taiwan, which it still considers to be a province of China, according to diplomats.
By celebrating "Double 10" and honoring Taiwan's hero Sun, the Communists hope to reestablish their own nationalistic credentials and appeal to the patriotic urgings of Taiwan's leaders for "one China."
Since the United States recognized the mainland in 1979 and broke diplomatic ties to Taiwan, Peking has proposed a gradual and peaceful reunification scheme beginning with the establishment of postal, trade and air service contacts between China and the island of 17 million people.
Even though indirect trade and unofficial contacts between Taiwan and China have flourished in recent years, Taipei's Nationalist officials have steadfastly spurned Peking's offers.