4 songs tell China story over six decades

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, October 1, 2009
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Chinese chanted in the past six decades four songs which in relay depicted key stories of the world's most populous country.

The rise of China from one of the world's poorest countries in 1949 to the world's third largest economy has been accompanied by the four songs.

On the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), Beijing managed Thursday a gigantic military parade followed by a mass pageant.

Together with four huge portraits showing helmsmen of the four generations of leadership, the four songs were part of the hour-long pageant.

Late Chairman Mao Zedong's portrait was accompanied by "The East Is Red," a song with a melody borrowed from local ballads of northwestern China, where the Communist Party of China (CPC) fought both Japanese invaders and the Kuomintang-led army in the 1930s and 1940s.

The song, eulogizing Mao as "the people's great savior" and a "guide to build a new China," shot to fame in the 1960s and 1970s.

A week after the People's Republic of China launched its first man-made satellite in April 1970, Mao joined many of his countrymen to tune into a radio to listen to "The East Is Red," beamed back to earth from the satellite.

The same radio broadcast is expected to be replayed Thursday evening as the Big Ben-like time bell on top of the downtown Beijing Telegraph Building rings to begin the 60th National Day evening gala.

Red was also the color of the plastic cover of more than one billion "little books" printed with "Quotations from Chairman Mao," a pocket must for each Chinese for everyday perusal in the 1960s and 1970s.

Mao was later commented in official documents as having made mistakes, particularly in the chaotic period from 1966 to 1976 (the Cultural Revolution), but he is still respected and honored as the primary founding father of the People's Republic.

Many cab drivers throughout the country hang miniature portraits of Mao above their dashboards to bless themselves, as most claim, for safe daily driving.

After the first three decades of PRC history when "The East Is Red" was in fashion, China took a reformist stance that triggered a rapid transformation.

Chinese people have gained wealth and freedom as a result of the pragmatic policies initiated by Mao's close associate Deng Xiaoping from the late 1970s -- an epic which was a dozen years later condensed into a pop song "The Story in Spring."

The song summarized two springs in both 1979 and 1992, with its lyrics telling "In spring of 1979, an old guy spotted an area in southern coastal China," and "In another spring of 1992, an old guy created an epic in southern coastal China."

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