Yesterday the Xinhua News Agency published an article in The China Daily entitled " Rudd says sorry to the stolen generation" about the Australian Prime Minister's apology to his nation's aboriginal peoples (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2008-02/13/content_6450311.htm). Here is an excerpt:
CANBERRA -- Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said sorry to the stolen generations in a public speech Wednesday morning in the parliament.
"We reflect on their past mistreatment. We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were stolen generations, this blemished chapter in our nation's history," Rudd said.
"We apologize for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians," the apology says.
"For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.
"To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.
"And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry," the prime minister said in an emotional speech.
Rudd said a new page in Australia's history can now be written.
"We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians," he said.
I subsequently received a poignant message from a close friend in China who suffered badly with his factory and property owning family after 1949 and in the Anti-Rightist Campaign and in the Cultural Revolution. He is now an older gentleman living in the PRC in retirement. He wrote me in English as follows:
"Will there be a righteous Chinese communist leader in future who would say a heart-felt SORRY to tens of millions of Chinese nationals and their left-behind families who were wronged by the wronged policies over the past tens of years in the CCP's history?"