"The March of the Volunteers" is the national anthem of the People's Republic of China, written in the midst of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) by the noted poet and playwright Tian Han with music composed by Nie Er. This composition is a musical march. The piece was first performed as part of a 1934 Shanghai play and its original lyrics is the official lyrics of the national anthem.

Origins as National Anthem Edit

March of the Volunteers was written by Tian Han in 1934 for a play he was writing at the time. Popular stories suggest, however, that he wrote it on a tobacco paper after being arrested in Shanghai and thrown into a Kuomintang jail in 1935. The song, with a minor alteration, became the theme song of the 1935 patriotic film Sons and Daughters in a Time of Storm), a story about an intellectual who leaves to fight in the Second Sino-Japanese War. It was one of many songs that were promoted secretly among the population as part of the anti-Japanese resistance. The song was released as an album by the Pathe label of EMI in 1935.

It was used as the national anthem for the first time in an international conference in February 1949 held in Prague, Czechoslovakia. At the time Beijing had recently come into the control of the Chinese Communists in the Chinese Civil War. There was controversy over the line "The Chinese nation faces its greatest peril". Historian Guo Moruo changed the line to "The Chinese people have come to their moment of emancipation" (Template:Zh-ts).

In June a committee was set up by the Communist Party of China to decide on an official national anthem for the soon-to-be declared People's Republic of China. By the end of August the committee had received 6926 submissions. March of the Volunteers was suggested by painter Xu Beihong) and almost unanimously supported by the members of the committee. There was contention, however, over the issue of the third line. On this Zhou Enlai made the conclusive judgement: "We still have imperialist enemies in front of us. The more we progress in development, the more the imperialists will hate us, seek to undermine us, attack us. Can you say that we won't be in peril?" His view was supported by Mao Zedong and on 27 September 1949, the song became the provisional national anthem, just days before the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Cultural Revolution and later history Edit

During the Cultural Revolution, Tian Han was imprisoned, and the March of the Volunteers was therefore forbidden to be sung; as a result there was a period of time when "The East is Red" was used as the unofficial national anthem.

The March of the Volunteers was restored by the National People's Congress in 1978, but with different lyrics; however, these new lyrics were never very popular and caused a great deal of confusion. During China's 1981 volleyball World Cup victories, both the old and new lyrics were sung simultaneously amongst fans.[1] On 4 December 1982, the National People's Congress resolved to restore the original 1935 version by Tian Han as the official national anthem. Significantly the current lyrics do not mention either the Communist Party of China nor Mao Zedong and the reversion of the lyrics was symbolic of the downfall of Hua Guofeng and the cult of personality of Mao and the ascendancy of Deng Xiaoping's openness reforms.

The National People's Congress made the song the official PRC anthem in a 2004 amendment of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China. The anthem is mentioned immediately after the national flag.

Although popular among Nationalists during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), the song was banned in the Republic of China until the 1990s.

The anthem was officially performed in Hong Kong for the first time [2] following the handover of the territory to the PRC in 1997, and in Macau following the handover in 1999.

File:March of the Volunteers.png
The use of the anthem in Macau, China is governed in Law n.o 5/1999 (zh:第5/1999號法律, pt:Lei de Macau 5 de 1999) since 20 December 1999. Article 7 of the Law requires the national anthem to be accurately performed pursuant to the sheet music in Appendix 4 and prohibits the lyric from being altered. Willfully failing to follow the sheet music or altering the lyric when performing the national anthem in public is criminally punishable by imprisonment of up to 3 years or a fine of up to 360 days. The sheet music in Appendix 4 has the lyric in Chinese only without Portuguese translation even though both Chinese and Portuguese are official languages of Macau.

The anthem is written completely in Vernacular Chinese, while the "National Anthem of the Republic of China" is written in Classical Chinese.

Click to listen:

  • Lyrics
  • Music

Official lyrics (Current and Original) Edit

Traditional Simplified Pinyin English Translation [1]















Qǐlái! Búyuàn zuò núlì de rénmen!
Bǎ wǒmen de xièròu zhùchéng wǒmen xīnde chángchéng!
Zhōnghuá Mínzú dàoliǎo zùi wēixiǎnde shíhòu,
Měige rén bèipòzhe fāchū zùihòude hǒushēng.
Qǐlái! Qǐlái! Qǐlái!
Wǒmen wànzhòngyīxīn,
Màozhe dírén de pàohuǒ, Qiánjìn!
Màozhe dírén de pàohuǒ, Qiánjìn!
Qiánjìn! Qiánjìn! Jìn!

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!

Altered lyrics (1978-1982, never amended to constitution) Edit

Traditional Simplified Pinyin English Translation

前進! 前進!進!









前进! 前进!进!

Qiánjìn! Gè mínzǔ yīngxióngde rénmín,
Wěidàde gōngchǎndǎng lǐngdǎo wǒmen jìxù chángzhēng.
Wànzhòng yīxīn bēn xiàng gōngchǎnzhǔyì míngtiān,
Jiànshè zǔgúo bǎowèi zǔgúo yīngyǒngde dòuzhēng.
Qiánjìn! Qiánjìn! Qiánjìn!
Wǒmen qiānqīu-wàndài
Gāojǔ Máo Zédōng qízhì, qiánjìn!
Gāojǔ Máo Zédōng qízhì, qiánjìn!
Qiánjìn! Qiánjìn! Jìn!

March on! Heroes of nationalities!
Lets continue the Great Communist Party's Long March,
Millions with one heart, towards a communist tomorrow,
Develop and bravely fight to protect the motherland .
March on, march on, march on!
We'll for generations,
Raise high Mao Zedong's banner, march on!
Raise high Mao Zedong's banner, march and on!
March on! March on! On!

Trivias Edit

  • A well-known humorous spinoff is to sing the words (in Cantonese) "葱菜牛肉啄烂都分开两餐" (Smash of beef with spring onions divided into two meals) in the tune of the line "中华民族到了最危险的时候".


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See alsoEdit


External linksEdit


zh-yue:義勇軍進行曲 be:Марш добраахвотнікаў cs:Hymna Čínské lidové republiky de:Marsch der Freiwilligen el:Εθνικός ύμνος της Κίνας es:La Marcha de los Voluntarios fr:La Marche des Volontaires ko:중화인민공화국의 국가 id:Barisan Para Sukarelawan it:Marcia dei Volontari lt:Kinijos Liaudies Respublikos himnas ms:Barisan Para Sukarelawan nl:Mars van de vrijwilligers ja:中華人民共和国の国歌 pl:Hymn Chińskiej Republiki Ludowej pt:Hino nacional da China ru:Гимн Китайской Народной Республики sl:Marš prostovoljcev sr:Марш добровољаца th:March of the Volunteers fi:Vapaaehtoisten marssi sv:De frivilligas marsch vi:Hành khúc quân tiến nghĩa dũng zh:义勇军进行曲

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