TAIPEI - Nora Sun, a granddaughter of the Republic of China (R.O.C.) founding father Dr. Sun Yat-sen, was seriously injured during a car accident in Taipei yesterday just when Taiwan was celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the R.O.C. on the first day of 2011.
The 72-year-old is currently in the intensive care unit at the Shin Kong Memorial Hospital after undergoing eight-hour-long emergency surgery. The hospital's superintendent Hou Sheng-mou said Sun sustained severe injuries to many parts of her body and he described Sun's condition as more stable following the treatment but was still critical and will need close attention for the following three days.
The accident occurred at around 7:40 a.m. on the city's Jianguo Overpass when Sun's friend was driving her to the Taoyuan International Airport to fly back to Hong Kong, the police said.
It was reported that a red-color vehicle on the opposite lane suddenly lost control and rammed into a crash barrier before running directly into Sun's car.
The 19-year-old driver of the red car, surnamed Chen, was killed at the scene while two others in the automobile together with Sun's friend were all injured in the accident and sent to the hospital.
Police said weariness was the probable cause of the accident, as the red car's two passengers, who suffered minor injuries, said they were driving home after attending a year-end party, the police said.
Sun, who lives overseas, was visiting Taiwan under the invitation of her friend to attend the ongoing Taipei International Flora Expo.
It was not immediately clear whether she had participated in any event to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the R.O.C. during her stay here. She previously disclosed that she hadn't been invited to join such events when asked by local media.
However, a local foundation responsible for organizing related celebrations said they had previously sent invitations to Sun, but she did not show up at any of these events.
In response to the accident, President Ma Ying-jeou expressed sincere regret and asked Presidential Office Secretary-General Liao Liou-yi to visit the hospital to get first-hand information on Sun's condition.
Liao said the president had asked the hospital to make use of every possible resource to take care of Sun, and hoped the nation would pray for her speedy recovery.
Meanwhile, Sun's son arrived in Taiwan from Hong Kong last night to visit his mother in the hospital.
Sun's grandfather was the spiritual leader behind revolts which succeeded in overthrowing the Qing Dynasty, China's last imperial dynasty, in 1911. The R.O.C. relocated to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Chinese communists.
Born in the Shanghai, China, Sun is the youngest daughter of Sun Ke, Sun Yat-sen's only son.
She later moved to Taiwan and worked as a flight attendant when she was only 17, the youngest flight attendant in Taiwan of that time. She then moved to the U.S. where she married and raised three children before enrolling in the University of Arizona and Babson College, Massachusetts at the age of 40.
In 1986, Sun began a career in the U.S. diplomatic service and served as trade consul in the U.S. ministry of commerce and as trade counselor in the U.S. consulates in China and Europe.
In a previous interview with local media, Sun said she had never met her grandfather since he died before she was born. But she added that the R.O.C. founder is a very important icon and a respectable ancestor.