Photo CGTN
What is National Anthem Of China: Original Lyrics, English Version And History. Photo CGTN

China’s national anthem is ‘March of the Volunteers’, known more widely in China as the Chinese National Song, or the National Song of the People’s Republic of China.

The song has had a chequered history in terms of use and, like many other countries, the national anthem China has used at any given time in history has been determined by its leadership at that time.

‘March of the Volunteers’ was written in 1935, and adopted from the time China’s communist party took power in 1949. It was written in the vernacular language, with lyrics by Tian Han and music by Nie Er.

What is the history of the Chinese national anthem?

The song was used as the theme music for the film Sons and Daughters in a Time of Storm, which tells the story of China’s fight against Japanese invaders in northeast China in the 1930s, and encapsulates messages of determination and sacrifice for national liberation, as well as China’s emphasis on values such as courage, resolution and unity in the face of foreign aggression.

It therefore serves the current regime’s communist values, having been heard and officially recognised in its current form since 1982.

The break between the song’s first use in 1949, and the 1982 re-introduction was due to Mao Zedong’s rule of the country and the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, during which time the song was banned and replaced with ‘The East Is Red’ as the de facto anthem, with the old tune also being used with alternate lyrics. The ‘March of the Volunteers’ lyricist Tian Han was imprisoned by Mao.

Since being reinstated, ‘March of the Volunteers’ has been given official national anthem status, and adopted by Hong Kong and Macau upon their transfer to China in 1997 and 1999, respectively.

The national anthem has been enshrined in the Chinese Constitution since 2004. The anthem is a national symbol of China, and is played at state occasions and sporting events such as the Olympics.

Originally, the lyrics of this song were written by Tian Han in 1934 as a dramatic poem. The music that the poem was set to was created by Nie Er for use in a film. One of the things that makes this anthem so unique is that it isn’t as positive as other nations’ anthems.

Original Chinese Lyrics of the National Anthem of China

Photo Pinterest
Photo Pinterest


Qǐlái! Búyuàn zuò núlì de rénmen


Bǎ wǒmen de xuèròu, zhùchéng wǒmen xīn de chángchéng


Zhōnghuá mínzú dàoliǎo zuì wēixiǎn de shíhòu


Měi ge rén bèipòzhe fāchū zuìhòu de hǒushēng


Qǐlái! Qǐlái! Qǐlái!


Wǒmen wànzhòngyìxīn


Màozhe dírén de pàohuǒ, qiánjìn


Màozhe dírén de pàohuǒ, qiánjìn


Qiánjìn! Qiánjìn! Jìn!

English Lyrics of the Chinese National Anthem

Arise, ye who refuse to be slaves!

With our flesh and blood, let us build a new Great Wall!

As China faces its greatest peril

From each one the urgent call to action comes forth.

Arise! Arise! Arise!

Millions of but one heart

Braving the enemies’ fire! March on!

Braving the enemies’ fire! March on!

March on! March, march on!

National Symbols of China


Photo Shutterstock
Photo Shutterstock

The official flag of ChinaThe present flag was adopted in China in 1949 since the foundation of the People Republic of China. The flag meaning is - red color symbolizes revolution, emphasizing that political power of the People Republic of China was achieved in hard and bloody struggle. In its upper left corner there are five stars, with the bigger one symbolizing the Communist Party of China and four smaller ones. The disposition of the stars on the flag shows great unity of different layers of Chinese community led by the Communist Party of China.

Coat of Arms

The official coat of arms of ChinaThe PRC’s coat of arms was adopted on 20 September 1950. The national coat of arms features Tiananmen Square, lit by five yellow stars and surrounded by wheatears with a gear. The yellow and red colors of the coat of arms traditionally symbolize happiness and prosperity. Tiananmen symbolizes the spirit of Chinese peoples in struggle against feudalism and imperialism; the wheatears and gear – the peasants and working class.

When is National Day of China?

Photo Chinese Language Institute
Photo Chinese Language Institute

National Day is a universal symbol of China's sovereign independence, its emergence as a nation state. As a legal public holiday, it represents national cohesion. It is the time to honor the predecessors' contribution and look to the bright future.

National Day Activities:

The large scale celebration has mass appeal, and its form has varied in different periods, but the pleasure and pride of the country have never changed.

Flag-raising Ceremony

The flag-raising ceremony is held in Tian'anmen Square, the national flag guards march in tight order from Tian'anmen Gate Tower. With the anthem chorus stirring hearts and arms held strong in salute, the national flag is raised and flutters in the wind. The number of visitors attending the ceremony on Oct. 1st are 100 thousand more than on ordinary days.

Military Parade

The military parade suggests the military strength of China with a presentation lasting 66 minutes, for remembering national humiliation, recalling revolutionary martyrs, and lifting the national spirit.

Anniversary Activities

Communist party and status leaders offer flowers to the monument of the People's Heroes for commemorating martyrs in the liberation of China. Overseas Chinese Communities also hold a celebration and flag-raising ceremony during the festival.

An evening gala

The National Day evening gala showcases songs and dances on the theme of eulogizing the motherland and the modern era. All Chinese people feel a sense of patriotism and are in a festive mood.

Some Fun Facts about China's National Day

Holiday: The schedule for National Day is not the same throughout China, and is the longest public holiday of the year in mainland China.

Since 1999, the National Day holiday has been 7 days in mainland China (Golden Week), 2 days in Macao, and 1 day in Hong Kong.

Decorated Streets: All government departments and public institutions hang lanterns and slogans of “Celebrate National Day”. Potted plants are placed in the main square and combine to form a slogan with balloons dotted about.

Shopping: There are a great many shopping malls with special holiday deals to attract customers.

Travel: Millions of citizens move across China, and many of them tend to swarm to resorts during this long holiday. The number of visitors increases by epic proportions year by year. Traveling in China during Golden Week is not a good choice, but if you have already decided to come, it is highly recommended that you join our tour for cultural exchange to avoid the large crowds, such as visiting Hutong, painting Beijing Opera Facial Masks and learning Taichi.

Traffic: Traffic is definitely the heaviest on the first and last day of Golden Week, so airplane tickets are more expensive, and train tickets can be tough to find. It is wise to book ahead.

Hotel: Hotels are extremely busy on national holidays, given the huge increase in domestic travel. It is possible that they will also be more costly at that time.

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