Tian Han – The Man Who Wrote the Chinese National Anthem

Who’s Who of the Hutong? is a monthly characteristic that explores the lives of famed historical figures who lived in Beijing’s hutong. On this model, we glance on the lifetime of Tian Han, the one who wrote the lyrics to the Chinese national anthem and who as soon as lived in Xiguan Hutong. 

A tiny and somewhat accelerate-down gray courtyard home lies in Xiguan Hutong, Dongcheng district. As some distance as hutong accelerate, Xiguan is a some distance shout from extra gentrified areas cherish Nanluoguxiang. 

Nearby you’ll win the Beijing No. 5 Middle College, a bathhouse, convenience stores and a bar that appears to be like to be cherish it’s considered larger days.

Beside the doorway to a gray courtyard home is a tiny imprint which reads ‘Ancestral Home of Tian Han’ alongside one other imprint which provides a short description of his lifestyles. Such an unassuming web web page presumably belies the significance of the one who lived within the courtyard home.


Tian Han’s ancestral home in Xiguan Hutong. Image by strategy of Alistair Baker-Brian/That’s

Chinese creator and playwright Tian Han became as soon as, indubitably, the particular person on the befriend of the lyrics of ‘March of the Volunteers’ (Yiyongjun Jinxingqu), the national anthem of the Folks’s Republic of China. A supporter of modern communism, his writing in the end fell noxious of these end to Chairman Mao Zedong. 


The imprint reads ‘Ancestral Home of Tian Han.’ Image by strategy of Alistair Baker-Brian/That’s

Born in Changsha county, Hunan in 1898, Tian Han’s make stronger for communism became as soon as formed by his early days finding out in Japan from 1916 to 1922. It became as soon as there that Tian Han joined the Society of Chinese Formative years in Japan, a team inspired by the anti-imperialist May maybe well maybe Fourth Tear. He later joined the left-waft Dramatists League in 1930, and within the rupture the Communist Occasion of China in 1932. 

His politics had been reflected in his plays. Many devices mixed modern communism with proletarianism and a smattering of feminism and patriotism. 

Violin and Rose (Fan’elin yu qiangwei, 1920) tells the epic of Liu Cui, a tough-willed folk singer who provides up her have needs to finance her lover’s uncover about of music in Paris. She hopes he can write “gargantuan music” for the shadowy employees to have a excellent time the founding of a youthful China.

The Devil of the Piano (Xue ya luo zhigui, 1922), portrays three music-loving sisters. They awaken to the category differences between folks that will presumably maybe have ample cash a piano and these cherish themselves, who work to fabricate the earnings that enable prosperous families to resolve on a piano. 

Nonetheless, his huge wreck got right here because the screenwriter on the 1935 film Younger of us of Skittish Cases (Fengyun ernü), which tells the epic of a team of shadowy performers fighting for the motherland. The play itself is never any longer so great remembered, as one in every of the songs which accompanied it. The rating became as soon as put together by a younger composer named Nie Er, while the lyrics had been written by Tian Han.  

That music became as soon as none diversified than ‘March of the Volunteers,’ which can presumably maybe presumably encourage Chinese resistance in opposition to Japanese occupation. Story would have it that Tian got right here up with the words in detention heart, after being arrested in Shanghai by the Nationalists for his political activism; with none paper, he wrote the strains on the befriend of a cigarette packet.

The music became the provisional national anthem of the PRC in 1949 but wasn’t officially adopted until 1982. For the sort of superb contribution to the Chinese revolution, Tian Han became as soon as rewarded with the gray courtyard home in Xiguan Hutong in 1953.  

He continued writing after the founding of the PRC in 1949. Nonetheless, his works had been no longer met with resolve on by many who had been end to Chairman Mao. Love so many no longer deemed ‘modern ample,’ Tian Han became a sufferer of China’s bloody Cultural Revolution. In 1966, he left his home in Xiguan Hutong for the final time as he became as soon as dragged away to be imprisoned. He died in 1968 following torture and maltreatment. 

In 1979, as China’s Reform and Opening-Up era got underway, the collective memory of Tian Han became as soon as posthumously rehabilitated by the CPC. Nonetheless, besides the two tiny signs on the wall indicating that Tian Han as soon as lived there, his ancestral home in Beijing provides diminutive for fogeys that are eager to be taught extra about his lifestyles. 

As an different, folks that are inquisitive about Tian Han would possibly presumably maybe presumably still head to Changsha county, appropriate out of doors Changsha metropolis, capital of Hunan province. There, guests can win his diversified ancestral home, which is birth to the public, as successfully because the Tian Han Cultural Park. The Changsha Tian Han Grand Theater is also named after the metropolis’s famed son. 

No matter how Tian Han is remembered, his writing certainly cemented his space in neatly-liked Chinese history. 

READ MORE: ‘Destination Peking’ and Beijing’s Fashioned Hutong Hipsters 

[Cover image via Xinhua]

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