I had gotten the impression that Cui Jian had become a toothless rocker. Not so, if this BBC article is correct.
1. Military Pop
Update : the show in full on youtube ——–>
Tianjin Satellite Television is going to broadcast a tribute show to celebrate the founding anniversary of the “People’s Liberation Army”. Han Hong (韩红), a singer and songwriter of Han Chinese and Tibetan origin and host of the show, explains in an Enorth (Tianjin) article of August 1 that
through the army songs, we want to communicate to young people how the two words “military people” are sacred. [...] Some people have doubts how a theme like ‘Resonant Army Songs’ can be close to young people. I’m particularly looking forward to kids born after 1980 and 1990 singing army songs together. This will bring about a completely new feeling.
我们就是要通过军歌告诉年轻人，‘军人’两字是怎么样的神圣。 [...] 有人会疑惑‘军歌嘹亮’这样一个主题会不会离现在的年轻人有点远，我特别期待80后、90后的孩子们一起来唱军歌，一定会带来一个全新的感觉。
According to Baike Baidu, Han Hong is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Her father’s nationality is Han, and he had been among the young people who were sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, to learn from the rural population. In 2009, Han Hong joined the political department of the Air Force Art Troupe (or song and dance ensemble) and has since served as the department’s deputy director. Her fans believe that her voice comes across as naturally as Sarah Brightman‘s, but those who (strongly) dislike her find her style artificial.
Han Hong is joined by four commenters (not quite a jury, as competition isn’t meant to be at the center of the show): Zhou Xiao’ou (周晓欧), Man Wenjun (满文军), Li Danyang (李丹阳), and Cai Guoqing (蔡国庆).
2. Miltary Movie
In June, Xiao Huaiyuan (肖怀远), Tianjin Municipal Standing Committee of the CCP and the Committee’s propaganda department director, described his impressions from a visit to the production of a television series “Way-finding” (“寻路”), a film about the history of the CCP which enthusiastically sings the praises of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De and other members of the old revolutionary generation who sought the correct path for China’s revolution in bloody struggles, their strong will and foresight [...] (热情赞颂了毛泽东、周恩来、朱德等老一辈革命家为了探寻中国革命正确之路而浴血奋斗的坚强意志和远见卓识 [.....]).
“Way-finding” strictly respected historical truth (严格尊重历史真实) and followed the principle of not falsifying the major events, but being unconstrained by minor matters (大事不虚、小事不拘), Xiao Huaiyuan wrote in an article for People’s Daily (人民日报), republished by Enorth on June 20.
Michelle Obama‘s absence from the American-Chinese summit in California was a diplomatic misstep, Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, argued on Foreign Policy (behind a registration wall, possibly). Her absence was an own-goal, Drezner believes, because this was one of the rather few occasions where she could really have mattered in the world of politics. Too many Chinese might be disappointed that America’s first lady didn’t meet up with China’s first lady, Peng Liyuan.
Reportedly, Mrs Obama wanted to stay in Washington, to celebrate the birthday of one of her daughters.
Isaac Stone Fish disagreed with Drezner’s criticism. He referred to the songs Peng used to sing in full PLA gear, and especially this song, where she pretended to be Tibetan, lauding the PLA for “liberating” Tibet.
On Mondaqy, the BBC accused China of jamming its
Mandarin English-language service on shortwave. However, it also added that it wasn’t poossible to determine exactly where the blocking was coming from. Not at “this stage”, anyway.
On Tuesday, a foreign ministry spokesperson claimed not to understand the situation, and a media commenter, Michael Anti, apparently presented himself as a nerd (quoted by The Guardian):
I doubt there is anyone listening to the BBC English radio in China.
Anti should know better – there are even Chinese online discussions about foreign broadcasters on shortwave. Not to mention that only every second Chinese citizen is a regluar internet user so far.
Update / Correction (Febr 26, 2013):
the BBC statement is about jamming of its shortwave programs in English.
The following is a recording of a Falun-Gong-leaning station, the Sound of Hope (希望之声) being jammed.
You can hear the jamming station’s output rise after 35 seconds into the recording, and the “alternative” program, Chinese folk music known as “Firedrake” (火龙干扰) sets in after one minute. (Recorded in June, 2011.)
It appears that regular Chinese domestic programs on shortwave are also at times used to interfere with undesired foreign broadcasters, as they go on air along with them, and off air once the undesired broadcasts are over.
That’s a lot of time and effort for nothing, if nobody in China actually listens.
» Always with you on Shortwave (Chinese blogpost translation), March 17, 2012
» Radio jamming in China, Wikipedia, acc. 20130226
Going to the Grassroots: Li Huadian & The Volunteers provide Tianjin Airforce with Spiritual Nourishment
This is from the same Enorth series as this previous translation. The context of these events is the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. Links within blockquotes added during translation – JR
Enorth (Tianjin), November 3, 2012
In the morning of November 3, the Tianjin Public Culture Volunteers’ Corps went to an PLA air force unit stationed in Tianjin, to perform wonderful cultural arts in front of the troops. This is another one among the “volunteers’ performances to greet the 18th National Congress” activities.
Among the performances, the volunteers had brought along wonderful male and female solo songs, reality-fantasy magician performances, xiangsheng, Pingju Opera song series, and other wonderful gigs. To express their gratitude, and to display the talents within their barracks, the soldiers also performed some wushu and guitar performances of their own.
The atmosphere of the scene was unusually warm. Apart from performing a song arranged on his own, young actor Du Lei also impersonated Liu Dehua, Liu Huan, and other voices, thus winning enthusiastic applause from the troops. Young singers Meng Fanjin and Wang Suiru, in beautiful voices, sang “Sincere Beauty” and “Xinjiang Story”, and one sang the popular songs “The Sun will never Set” and “Legendary”. The two young ladies’ silvery voices attracted the young soldiers. They all incessantly gave flowers to them to express their joy.
Famous singer Li Huadian, as a member of the Volunteers’ Corp experts committee, also took part in the performances. It was the first time that he wore the green T-shirt as the volunteer-corp symbol. Li told the reporter that this was a very particular feeling. He said: “It’s my honor to be a volunteer, to come to the barracks to perform, and to serve the soldiers who are defending Tianjin. As a working man of the arts, one has to go to the grassroots, to perform among the masses, and to give ones best to everyone. I will continue to come to the grassroots frequently, to give the best spiritual nourishment to everyone.”
These were successful performances, the performers saw the needs and the yearning of the soldiers for the arts, and the soldiers liked the cordiality in the performances. Next, the Tianjin Public Culture Volunteers’ Corps will make more grassroot performances, promote this city’s cultural volunteering work, unite more cultural volunteers, to provide even more high-quality spiritual nourishment to the common people.
(Wu Hong reporting / 记者吴宏)
Radio Station Profiles: RTM Mali
Radiodiffusion Télévision du Mali, according to information on its QSL cards almost three decades ago, carried transmissions in French, English, Arabic and national vernacular languages during the 1980s on about five frequencies – two in the 60-m tropical band, and three from the 49- to the 31-m-band. The broadcasts I used to listen to in Europe back then were usually in French. These days, 5995 kHz in the 49-m band seems to work best in Germany, if recent video uploads on youtube are something to go by. The frequency 5995 kHz (49 m) shown there on youtube was also active during the 1980s, but at the time, the frequency was probably hardly audible, as European broadcasters, too, were rather active on shortwave. The tropical band was my medium to listen to Africa during the 1980s.
African domestic stations on shortwave – most of those audible in central and northern Europe came in most clearly in the 60-meter band – differed from each other in terms of formats at the time. Some were mostly boring official announcements and news, on other stations, there were also messages from and between listeners read out, and some stations also broadcasted pretty lively music. If I remember it right, RTM Mali devoted more time to regional music than most African domestic stations I listened to.
Private radio stations appear to be on air in Mali, too. According to Wikipedia, the law has allowed for privately-run stations since 1994. These days, Mali shortwave transmitters also relay broadcasts by China Radio International (CRI). The China Television Economic and Technical Cooperation Company, a state-owned company founded in 1991 for Chinese broadcasting projects abroad, provided Mali with shortwave broadcasting equipment, apparently in 2001, or somewhat earlier, “to help Mali develop a foundation for broadcasting”, and for CRI
to broadcast to Africa in Mandarin, Cantonese, English, French, Swahili, Hausa, and other languages, to let African listeners hear the voice from China more clearly and conveniently, to broaden Chinese influence in Africa, to promote Sino-African friendship and the development of broadcasting in African nations, their public welfare, national education and other important effects.
中广国际总公司 [in full: 中国广播电视国际经济技术合作总公司] 为马里提供并租用当地短波广播设备转播中国国际广播电台对非洲地区广播节 目的卡伊、莫普堤、卡蒂、塞古、锡卡索等地广播发射台工程项目的完成，既为马里国家广播事业的发展奠定了坚实基础，也实现了我国对非洲地区用普通话、广东 话、英语、法语、斯瓦希里语、豪萨语等多种语言在当地广播的目标，让非洲听众更加清晰、更加便捷地收听到来自中国的声音，为扩大我国在非洲地区的影响、促 进中非友谊以及发展非洲国家的广播电视事业、国家公益事业、促进国民教育事业等发挥了重要作用。
The China Television Economic and Technical Cooperation Company seems to work under the auspices of the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) and is located in Beijing’s Chaoyang district.
Obviously, during the 1980s, there weren’t too many ways to be familiar with musical genres and their protagonists. Local broadcasters could give you a taste of regional music, but as their target audience was familiar with the musicians anyway, there was no need for the announcers to explain the music they played. Things have changed with the internet, and you can get all kinds of background information now, as a recent blogpost by KT illustrates – it includes a number of samples/videos »
International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
AIA – Anguilla; CUB – Cuba; EGY – Egypt; RUS – Russia; TIB – Tibet; TWN – Taiwan.
C – Chinese; E – English; G – German; S – Spanish.
|7240||PBS Tibet||TIB||C||Sep 2||22:59||4||5||3|
|5025||R. Rebelde||CUB||S||Sep 20||01:29||4||4||4|
|11560||R. Cairo 1)||EGY||G||Sep 22||19:00||4||5||4|
|15700||Vo Russia||RUS||G||Oct 2||09:00||5||5||5|
|9955||RTI Taipei 2)||TWN||G||Oct 3||17:00||4||4||4|
No impressive list for September and October, as I was much busier in recent weeks, than in August (see “Related” at the bottom of this post), and spent only little time in front of the radio.
1) While modulation was much better on that day than what listeners had previously been used to, readability of the broadcast was still less than O=4. Modulation is still not up to the standards. To give you an idea, here is a short recording from the September 22 broadcast in German.
2) Direct live broadcast from Taiwan on shortwave. Occasionally morse interferences, and growing (unid.) interference from five kHz further down during the last third of the broadcast.
Some 40 years ago.
The real revolutionary opera is here. It’s become a popular target for all kinds of re-mixes online, even before the gangnam hype.
Much of the following is based on CCP folklore and, and therefore not necessarily accurate. Links within blockquotes added during translation – JR.
Main Link: 中国人民解放军军歌作曲者郑律成
Zheng Lücheng, famous composer. Born in Korea’s South Jeolla Province, Guangju, Yanglin Village in 1914, into a poverty-stricken family. Original name Zheng Fu’en, later, for his passion for music, changed into Lücheng. His father was a patriot, his three older brothers all gave their lives for the cause of Chinese and Korean revolution. In spring 1933, Zheng Lücheng and a group of Korean patriots came to China, entered the Korean anti-Japan resistance organization[s] in China, and ran the Nanjing “Korean Revolutionary Cadres’ School”. After graduation, he was active in resisting Japan in Nanjing, Shanghai, and other places, and in his spare time, he studied music.
After the outbreak of the National Anti-Japanese War, Zheng Lücheng whole-heartedly went to Yan’an in October 1937, joined the Shaanbei Public School [for training cadres] and studied at the Lu Xun Academy of Art and Literature. At the beginning of 1938, he became the Anti-Japan-Resistance University of Military Administration’s musical director and vocal-music instructor at the Lu Xun Academy of Art and Literature. In January 1939, he joined the Chinese Communist Party. In May 1942, Zheng Lücheng took part in the Yan’an Arts Work Conference and attentively listened to Chairman Mao Zedong’s teachings. In August 1942, Zheng Lücheng was sent to the headquarters of the Eighth Army at the Taihang Mountains, as education director of the North China “Korean Revolution Military Administration School”. In January 1944, he returned to Yan’an.
Zheng Lücheng frequently joined the anti-Japanese front and created a great number of musical works that reflected the soldiers’ battles against the Japanese. In April 1938, he wrote the “Ode to Yan’an” which spread from Yan’an to the whole country right after it came out, and inspired many progressive young people to hurry to Yan’an and to throw themselves into the revolution. In 1993, the “Ode to Yan’an” was included into the twenty Chinese Classics of the 20th Century, to enter the Chinese annals of music forever. In fall 1939, he completed the “Eighth Route Army Choruses” together with Gong Mu, among these, the “March of the Eighth Route Army Song” and “Eighth Route Army Anthem” which became military songs being sung in many places. During the liberation war, the “March of the Eighth Route Army Song” was changed into the “Military Anthem of the People’s Liberation Army”, with some changes to the text.
After the victory in the Japanese War, Zheng Lücheng returned to North Korea and served successively as the Korean Workers Party Kangwon Province Committee’s propaganda director, North Korean People’s Army club director, the North Korean People’s Army Orchestra director, the Korean National Music University’s composing department director, etc.. During this time, he wrote songs in praise of Korean people’s struggles and Sino-Korean friendship, “Korean People’s Army March”, “Sino-Korean Friendship” and many other works. In 1950, he returned to China and took Chinese citizenship, settling in Beijing. He worked at the Beijing People’s Theater and Ensemble. He went thoroughly into factories, the countryside, and borderposts, left his footprints in many places, seeking for material for new works, and wrote a great number of musical works for workers, peasants and soldiers.
Within several decades, Zheng Lücheng wrote more than 360 songs of different forms and genres, which won universal acclaim. Among them, the “Military Anthem of the People’s Liberation Army”, by its simple and succinct language, its sonorous rhythm, solemn and heroic melody, created a deep impression of the People’s troops’ image, the overwhelming way it pressed forward with an indomitable will, advancing fanfare, following the route of the army’s growth and its victory, and became part of the People’s Liberation Army’s combat effectiveness and political work. On July 25, 1988, the Military Central Commission officially made the song the People’s Liberation Army’s military anthem.
Zheng Lücheng passed away in Beijing, on December 7, 1976.
= = = = = = = = = =
Main Link: 郑律成 (baike.baidu)
Note: Ding Xuesong (丁雪松), born in Sichuan Province in 1918, was a cadre in Yan’an and married Zheng Lücheng there. She was a Chinese citizen; Zheng took Chinese citizenship around 1950.
On the eve of the birth of New China, Ding Xuesong was appointed to build Xinhua’s Pyongyang branch office as the office’s director. In October, one week after the branch office’s establishment, China and Korea announced the establishment of diplomatic relations. On June 25, 1950, the Korean War suddenly broke out. With the tensions on the Korean peninsula and domestic decisions on their mind, it was decided to immediately establish an embassy in Pyongyang. Its main task was to maintain contacts between the two parties and armies, and to get aware of changes on the battlefield without delay. With Ding Xuesong as the Xinhua branch office director and a member of the embassy, Zheng Lücheng’s situation became more difficult, and each of them having separate things of their own to do, their feelings for each other were [still] too deep to part with each other. So the only way was for Zheng Lücheng and Ding Xuesong to return to China. Ding Xuesong, with help by a letter written by the ambassador to Chief State Councillor Zhou Enlai, asked for both her and Zheng’s return to China, plus requesting a renewal of Zheng’s party membership, and Chinese citizenship for Zheng. Even though Zhou Enlai was very busy, he quickly approved the requests, and Mao Zedong obtained Kim Il-sung’s agreement. Kim Il-sung was very generous, saying “Zheng Lücheng wants to return to China? That’s alright. The Chinese Communist Party developed so many cadres for us, and if you want a Zheng Lücheng now, that’s no problem.”
= = = = = = = = = =
He [Zheng] and Ding Xuesong were both persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, and he fell into a deep depression. Tragically, when he heard of the fall of the Gang of Four, which signaled the end of the Cultural Revolution, he suffered a stroke and died.
From 1979 to 1984, Ding Xuesong represented the PRC as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Netherlands and later to Denmark.
Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women, Lily Xiao Hong Lee (ed), New York, 2003, page 145.
Zheng Lvcheng, CRI/Soundcloud, Aug 4, 2012
[Update, Dec 23, 2012: now removed, but if you want the soundfile, contact me by email or comment.]