Historical Chinese anthems

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Historical Chinese anthems comprise a number of Chinese official and unofficial national anthems composed during the early 20th century.

"Chinese national anthem" may refer to:

Tune of Li Zhongtang[edit]


In 1896, for purposes of diplomatic missions to Western Europe and Russia, Li Hongzhang (Zhongtang being a term of respect for a vizier or prime minister) employed in political lyrics combined with classical Chinese music to create a song later known as "The Tune of Li Zhongtang" (李中堂樂).


With a golden palace above his head, and fold upon fold of purple pavilions,
Like a jade hibiscus on the palm of an immortal,
The Son of Heaven of Perfect Peace pays homage to the sun in the sky,
Riding on a five-coloured car of cloud pulled by six dragons.

Praise the Dragon Flag[edit]


After the Department of the Army was established in 1906, Praise the Dragon Flag became the army song, and has been played at formal occasions overseas.


Here for ten thousand years,
Great Empire of East Asia!
The criss-crossing mountains stand alone,
The wide-spreading rivers are the waves of the civilization;
Four hundred million¹ people under the auspice of the gods,
The land is large and the produce great.
Wave my yellow dragon emblem of the Empire,
Sing the song of our Empire!

¹ 兆usually means one trillion (1012), but it could mean one million (106), and should have that value here in the song for factual accuracy. See Chinese numerals for details.

Cup of Solid Gold (1911–1912)[edit]


The Cup of Solid Gold became the official national anthem of the Qing Empire in less than a week when the Wuchang Uprising occurred in 1911. It lasted for about one year until the end of the establishment of the republic. It is in classical Chinese.

Song of Five Races Under One Union[edit]


After the establishment of the provisional government in Nanjing, the Ministry of Education under Cai Yuanpei asked the public for possible anthems (as well as coats of arms), and "Song of Five Races under One Union" (五旗共和歌), with lyrics by Shen Enfu (沈恩孚) and music by Shen Pengnian (沈彭年), was released as a draft in the newspaper.




Yà dōng kāihuà zhōnghuá zǎo,
yī měi zhuī ōu,
jiù bāng xīnzào.

Piāoyáng wǔsè qí,
mínguó róngguāng,
jǐnxiù shānhé pǔzhào.

Wǒ tóngbāo,
gǔwǔ wénmíng,
shìjiè hépíng yǒngbǎo.

China, earliest civilization of East Asia,
Admiring America and chasing Europe,
The old nation is under new construction.

The five-coloured flag flutters,
The glory of the Republic
shines over our beautiful mountain and rivers.

My compatriots,
let us sing for civilization.
The universal peace will forever be protected.

How Great is Our China![edit]


Also called "Patriotic Song" (愛國歌), "How Great is Our China!" (泱泱哉,我中華!) has lyrics written by Liang Qichao and music by overseas Chinese at Datong School (大同學校), Yokohama. Released in 1912, it became quite popular, especially among students.[1]

Chinese Transliteration Translation
泱泱哉,我中華! Yāng yāng zāi, wǒ zhōng huá! How great is our China!
最大洲中最大國, Zuì dà zhōu zhōng zuì dà guó, The largest nation of the largest continent.
廿二行省為一家, niàn èr háng shěng wéi yī jiā, Twenty-two administered provinces are one family.
物產腴沃甲天地 wù chǎn yú wò jiǎ tiāndì, Rich products and fertile land are the first in the world.
天府雄國言非誇。 tiān fǔ xióng guó yán fēi kuā. Calling this strong nation heaven on earth is not boasting.
君不見英日區區三島尚掘起, Jūn bù jiàn yīng rì qū qū sān dǎo shàng jué qǐ, Don't you see: Britain and Japan, only three islands, still prosper.
況乃堂堂我中華! kuàng nǎi táng táng wǒ zhōng huá! How much more our great China?
結成團體, Jié chéng tuán tǐ, Join as one body.
振我精神, zhèn wǒ jīng shén Excite our spirit.
二十世紀新世界, èr shí shì jì xīn shì jiè, In this new world of the twentieth century,
雄飛宇內疇與倫? xióng fēi yǔ nèi chóu yǔ lún? Strongly soar among fellow mankind of the universe.
可愛哉,我國民! Kě'ài zāi, wǒ guó mín! How lovely is our people!
可愛哉,我國民! Kě'ài zāi, wǒ guó mín! How lovely is our people!

Song to the Auspicious Cloud (1913–1928)[edit]


The Song to the Auspicious Cloud has two versions, one used in 1913 and another after 1920.

First version[edit]

On April 8, 1913, this national anthem was used in the opening ceremony of the 1st Regular Council; the last line was added by Wang Baorong (汪寶榮), with other lines from Shang Shu; it was set to music by Jeans Hautstont.


How bright is the Auspicious Cloud!
How broad is the brilliancy!
The light is spectacular with sun or moon.
How it revives dawn after dawn!
Now, the country isn't one man's country.

Second version[edit]

In November 1919, Duan Qirui established the National Anthem Research Committee (國歌研究會), which adopted:

  • The lyrics (1920) by Zhang Taiyan (章太炎) from the classic "The Song to the Auspicious Cloud" (卿雲歌) from Shang Shu .
  • The music (1921) by Beijing professor, Xiao Youmei (蕭友梅).

The anthem was released in July 1921 by the Department of National Affairs (國務院).


How bright is the Auspicious Cloud!
How broad is the brilliancy!
The light is spectacular with sun or moon.
How it revives dawn after dawn!

¹糺 (jiū "collaborate") is sometimes written as 糾 (jiū "investigate") or 織 (zhī "to web")

China Heroically Stands in the Universe (1915–1921)[edit]


After general Yuan Shikai became head of state, the Ritual Regulations Office (禮制館) issued the new official anthem, China Heroically Stands in the Universe (中國雄立宇宙間) in June 1915. Its lyrics were written by Yin Chang (廕昌) and music by Wang Lu (王露).[2]


China heroically stands in Universe,
Extends to the Eight Corners,
The famous descendant from Kunlun Peak.
The rivers turn greatly, the mountains continuous.
Five nationalities open up the sky of Yao,
For millions of myriads of years.

Song of National Revolution[edit]


Written by officers of the Whampoa Military Academy, the "Revolution of the Citizens" song (國民革命歌Guomin Geming Ge), sung to the tune of "Frère Jacques (commonly known as "Two Tigers" in China)," was released on July 1, 1926.



打倒列強, 打倒列強,
除軍閥 , 除軍閥;

Dǎdǎo lièqiáng, dǎdǎo lièqiáng,
chú jūnfá, chú jūnfá;
nǔlì guómín gémìng, nǔlì guómín gémìng,
qí fèndòu, qí fèndòu.

Gōng nóngxué bīng, gōng nóngxué bīng,
dà liánhé! Dà liánhé!
Dǎdǎo dìguó zhǔyì, dǎdǎo dìguó zhǔyì,
qí fèndòu, qí fèndòu.

Dǎdǎo lièqiáng, dǎdǎo lièqiáng,
chú jūnfá, chú jūnfá;
guómín gémìng chénggōng, guómín gémìng chénggōng,
qí huān chàng, qí huān chàng.

Overthrow the foreign Powers, × 2
Eliminate the warlords; × 2
The citizens strive hard for the Revolution, × 2
Joint affair to fight. × 2

Laborers, farmers, students, and soldiers, × 2
Make a great union! × 2
Overthrow the imperialism, × 2
Joint affair to fight. × 2

Overthrow the foreign Powers, × 2
Eliminate the warlords; × 2
The Revolution is successful; ×2
Joyfully sing in unison. ×2


The Internationale[edit]

When the Chinese Soviet Republic was established in 1931, the Internationale in Chinese was decided to be its national anthem, since it followed the ideals of Communism, especially the Soviet Union. [4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 藝文誌 (in Chinese). Taiwan: 藝文誌文化事業有限公司. p. 10. 
  2. ^ 上海文史 (in Chinese). Shanghai: 上海文史编委员. 1989. p. 279. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  3. ^ (in Chinese) Xinhua Net: Collections of military revolutionary songs
  4. ^ (in Chinese) People's Daily: History of Chinese national anthems in a hundred years

External links[edit]