Red songs ring through China ahead of CPC's 90th anniversary

10:28, June 25, 2011      

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With the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) just around the corner, high-spirited "red songs" in praise of the ruling party have resounded through the country's parks, campuses, concert halls and TV channels.

"Red songs" refers to the pro-revolutionary songs that were popular during the country's revolution, reconstruction and reform period, said Fan Zuyin, a professor with the Central Conservatory of Music.

In Beijing's Jingshan Park, Song Yumin, along with more than 100 other people, belted out the red songs with an accordion accompanying.

Song, a retired teacher in her seventies, and her singing partners compiled a collection of 200 red songs, including her favorite, "I Love You, China."

Song said she loves the song because it expresses her innermost feelings about the country.

"I'm an orphan. Without the nurturing guidance of the New China, I could not have been a teacher, and I'll always feel grateful for that," she said.

"The passionate tunes remind me of my youth. At that time, people sweated blood but felt full of energy," said Zhao Baozhu, a retired factory worker.

Pan Tianqiang, a professor with the School of Liberal Arts of the country's renowned Renmin University, said the songs have struck a chord across the country, reminding people of a time when hard work and optimism were more highly valued.

On Friday, a chorus made up of dozens of employees of a Beijing-based educational research institution administered by the Ministry of Education (MOE) performed at a "red song" concert to celebrate the CPC's 90th founding anniversary, which falls on July 1.

"We have had similar events before, but this one is apparently more important," said a 50-year-old employee surnamed Yan.

According to Yan, the institution's labor union planned to recruit 100 employees for the chorus in early May. More than 140 employees applied for the spots.

"Many of my colleagues love singing, especially the red songs that our generation is familiar with," she said.

However, some members of the chorus gave up halfway. "Over the past month, the chorus has rehearsed a dozen times. The vocal training was very professional, and some said they could not handle such intense rehearsals on weekdays," Yan said.

Many government organizations and government-backed institutions have launched their own contests and concerts to commemorate the anniversary.

At a press conference held on Thursday, Wang Xiaohui, vice director of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, said the popular red song performances do not signal an ideological return to the past.

Wang said it is a long-held tradition of the Chinese people to sing red songs. He added that this year is a special occasion for Chinese citizens to get together and remember the revolutionary martyrs who helped to create the country as it is today.

"Today we have a very rich and diverse culture. Some like red songs, others like pop songs. And there are still others who like rock and roll," he added.

In fact, some music-savvy Chinese youngsters have created their own versions of the classic songs by recomposing them, adding elements of other musical styles such as rock and roll and hip-hop.

"I like their creative interpretations of the red songs. They don't change the tunes or lyrics of the songs, but make them more attractive to young people," said Tong Siyi, a 24-year-old Beijing resident.

Earlier this month, 14 singing groups made up of more than 1,000 people from southwest China's Chongqing Municipality staged red song performances at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University.

Chongqing earned its fame in recent months for campaigns to organize citizens to sing red songs.

"Actually, the red songs remind me of my childhood, as what the songs express is in line with the patriotic education I've been receiving since a young age," said Fang Junhui, an art major who recently graduated from Tsinghua.

Source: Xinhua
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