PRC National Anthem

In honor of the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic on October 1st, my friend Carsey Yee has sent another video: The Two Chinese Characters do the March of the Volunteers (twice, once with English subtitles). I was a bit surprised to learn that the song predates the PRC by over ten years, that the author was arrested and the song banned for a time (Can anyone think of another case where a national anthem was banned without a regime change taking place?), and, of course, the lyrics changed during the Cultural Revolution.

I suppose it makes sense: the history of the song really is the history of China.


  1. Hoffmann von Fallersleben, the author of the “Lied der Deutschen,” of which the third verse is the current German national anthem, was – due to his nationalistic and democratic (at that time both was still compatible in Germany) mindset – relieved from his professorship one year after the song was written in 1841. The song itself wasn’t banned but the Prussian authorities took von Fallersleben’s citizenship off him and expelled him from the country.

  2. I understand that the Soviet anthem did not have any lyrics from Stalin’s death in 1953 until around 1979, because of the references to Stalin in the lyrics, so it was not sung during that period. After 1979 new lyrics written in the early 70s were used. So a partial banning of an anthem without regime change, but a change in dictator.

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