China gives Hong Kong a song and dance — literally

Another of those news stories that verges on the surreal:

A local member of China’s legislature urged Hong Kong people to become more patriotic and then unexpectedly broke into a song – a revolutionary communist anthem – in an appearance before business leaders.

Critics took aim yesterday at Mr Tsang Hin Chi’s gesture as being out of touch and upsetting to many Hong Kongers.

Mr Tsang, a member of the National People’s Congress and a harsh critic of pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong, was scheduled to give a speech at a business reception on Sunday night but instead went on stage to sing the song ‘No Communist Party, No New China’.

Some commentators voiced doubts yesterday about whether Mr Tsang’s song would have the intended effect of instilling more nationalism among locals.

Doubts? Really? Songs can be very inspiring, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Hong Kong now turn sheepish and agree to vote only for “patriots.” One cynical commenter even had the temerity to imply the crooning Communist’s stunt would backfire.

‘Even people in China seldom sing this song,’ said political scientist Joseph Cheng of the City University. ‘I think there will be more resentment among the public. Patriotism is something voluntary. It can’t be forced onto others.’

Obviously he knows nothing of the power of music.

The Discussion: 6 Comments

“The Mid-Levels are alive, with the sound of agitprop.”

February 24, 2004 @ 10:57 am | Comment

Richard: I know your closing comments were tongue in cheek, but I just want to add something. I hope I’m not seen as spoiling here: it’s not my intent.

Joseph Cheng, cited in the second quote, sits on the Management Committee of the research centre at which I work (SEARC at City University). He is without doubt one of the most astute commentators on local and mainland politics in Hong Kong. An amazing guy. And when he says the song in question is not sung much anymore, I’m sure he’s correct.

The Song, by the way, has been translated as, “No Communist Party, No New China” However, it could also perhaps be translated as, “Without the Communist Party there will be no New China”. In Chinese it’s “Meiyou gongchandang jiu meiyou xin zhongguo”.

For you and your readers’ (listeners’) pleasure, then, I bring you the entire piece.

I’m realiably informed that this version is a little slow. Perhaps someone could whip up a quick translation.

Other oldies but goodies can be found here:

February 24, 2004 @ 12:22 pm | Comment

Whoops: that second URL for oldies and goodies should be:

Hours of listening fun…

February 24, 2004 @ 12:25 pm | Comment

Thanks for the links, which I’ll check out now. I was being totally tongue in cheek — I am sure Cheng is absolutely correct. I was simply in awe that a government official could get up in front of business leaders and make such an ass of himself.

February 24, 2004 @ 12:34 pm | Comment

Chinese Patriotism Demonstrated

The Chinese patriotism debate took a turn for the bizarre yesterday: A local member of China’s legislature urged Hong Kong people to become more patriotic and then unexpectedly broke into a song – a revolutionary communist anthem – in an…

February 24, 2004 @ 1:15 pm | Comment

Wow. I can’t think of a single Chinese person I know who takes that outdated song seriously. (Granted, the Chinese people I know are for the most part pretty liberal people.) In fact, there’s a pretty long-standing joke that meiyou xin zhongguo, jiu meiyou gongchandang – “Without the [prosperity of the] New China, there’d be no Communist Party.”

February 25, 2004 @ 11:42 pm | Comment

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