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Patriotic Songs

National music in China, or guoyue, is often performed to encourage patriotism and national pride. Since the formation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the government has promoted such music on radio, television and in live, grand-scale concerts. The songs range from patriotic anthems sung in classrooms to more propaganda-based revolutionary music.

Guoyue is often similar to the style of the day’s most popular commercial music—be it marches, orchestral arrangements or even pop. During the 1990s, nostalgic anthems to Mao Zedong were set to disco-pop arrangements and became national best sellers.

Learn more about the patriotic songs heard in PLEASE VOTE FOR ME.

“March of the Volunteers”

“March of the Volunteers” is the national anthem of China. Written in 1935, the song’s lyrics are attributed to poet and playwright Tian Han, and the music to composer Nie Er. The march commemorates the Chinese citizens that fought Japanese invaders in northeast China in the 1930s, and was first performed as part of a 1934 play in Shanghai and released on a record the following year. It was one of many songs at the time that formed part of an underground anti-Japanese resistance.

Controversy later brewed over the line “The Chinese nation faces its greatest peril,” which was viewed as undermining the country. The line was changed to "The Chinese people have come to their moment of emancipation." When Tian Han was imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution (1966 - 1976), “March of the Volunteers” became forbidden and “The East is Red” supplanted it as the national anthem.

Although “March of the Volunteers” has been used as a Chinese anthem since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, it was officially adopted as the national anthem in 1982.

Lyrics:

Arise! All who refuse to be slaves!
Let our flesh and blood become our new Great Wall!
As the Chinese nation faces its greatest peril,
All forcefully expend their last cries.
Arise! Arise! Arise!
May our million hearts beat as one,
Brave the enemy's fire, March on!
Brave the enemy's fire, March on!
March on! March on! On!

“We Are the Successors of Communism”

This is the song of the Young Pioneers of China, a youth organization run by the Communist Youth League and the Communist Party of China. The Young Pioneers were created in 1949 and were replaced by the Little Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution. The Young Pioneers were re-established in 1978 with the aim to unite young people in the study and practice of communism through various activities. Membership is not mandatory, but recommended.

“We Are the Successors of Communism,” or “We Are the Heirs to Communism,” was initially the theme song of the 1961 film Heroic Little Eighth-Routers. The movie told the real-life story of a group of children who helped fight Kuomintang forces on the frontlines during the 1958 Second Taiwan Strait Crisis.

Lyrics:

We are the heirs of communism,
Inheriting the glorious tradition of the forbearers of the Revolution;
[To] love the motherland and the people,
[While] the crimson red scarf flutters [or waves] at [our] chest.
[We] do not fear hardship, nor the enemy,
Studying hard and struggling with resolve;
Towards victory, [we] courageously advance,
Towards victory, [we] courageously advance,
Towards victory, [we] courageously advance;
We are the heirs of communism.

We are the heirs of communism,
Along the glorious path of the forbearers of the Revolution;
[To] love the motherland and the people,
"Young Pioneer Members" is our proud name.
Ever be prepared, to contribute [i.e. to the cause],
[And] to destroy completely the enemy.
For [our] ideal, [we] courageously advance,
For [our] ideal, [we] courageously advance,
For [our] ideal, [we] courageously advance;
We are the heirs of communism.


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