National Anthem of the Republic of China

English: National Anthem of the Republic of China
Zhōnghuá Míngúo gúogē
Sun whampoa speech anthem.gif
Manuscript of the speech at the opening ceremony of the Whampoa Military Academy in Dr. Sun Yat-sen's hand.

National anthem of
 Republic of China

Also known as San Min Chu-i
English: Three Principles of the People
Lyrics From a speech by Sun Yat-sen, 1924
Music Ch'eng Mao-yün, 1928
Adopted 1937 (de facto)
1943 (de jure)
National Anthem of the Republic of China
Traditional Chinese 中華民國國歌
Simplified Chinese 中华民国国歌

"National Anthem of the Republic of China" is the current national anthem of the Republic of China (ROC).[Note 1] It discusses how the vision and hopes of a new nation and its people can and should be achieved and maintained using the Three Principles of the People.[Note 2]



The text of "National Anthem of the Republic of China" was the collaboration between several Kuomintang (KMT) members,

  • Hu Han-min (胡漢民 Hú Hànmín),
  • Tai Chi-t'ao (戴季陶; Dài Jìtáo),
  • Liao Chung-k'ai (廖仲愷 Liáo Zhòngkǎi)
  • Shao Yüan-ch'ung (邵元沖 Shào Yuánchōng).

The text debuted on July 16, 1924 as the opening of a speech by Sun Yat-sen at the opening ceremony of the Whampoa Military Academy.

After the success of the Northern Expedition, the Kuomintang chose the text to be its party anthem and publicly solicited for accompanying music. Ch'eng Mao-yün (程懋筠; Chéng Màoyún) won in a contest of 139 participants.

On March 24, 1930, numerous Kuomintang members proposed to use the speech by Sun as the lyrics to the national anthem. Due to opposition over using a symbol of a political party to represent the entire nation, the National Anthem Editing and Research Committee (國歌編製研究委員會) was set up, which endorsed the KMT party song. On June 3, 1937, the Central Standing Committee (中央常務委員會) approved the proposal, and in 1943, the song officially became the national anthem of the Republic of China.


National Anthem of the Republic of China(Sheet music)
Traditional Chinese characters


Zhuyin Fuhao Wade-Giles Hanyu Pinyin Xiao'erjing

ㄙㄢ ㄇㄧㄣˊ ㄓㄨˇ ㄧˋ, ㄨˊ ㄉㄤˇ ㄙㄨㄛˇ ㄗㄨㄥ;
ㄧˇ ㄐㄧㄢˋ ㄇㄧㄣˊ ㄍㄨㄛˊ, ㄧˇ ㄐㄧㄣˋ ㄉㄚˋ ㄊㄨㄥˊ。
ㄗ ㄦˇ ㄉㄨㄛ ㄕˋ, ㄨㄟˋ ㄇㄧㄣˊ ㄑㄧㄢˊ ㄈㄥ;
ㄙㄨˋ ㄧㄝˋ ㄈㄟˇ ㄒㄧㄝˋ, ㄓㄨˇ ㄧˋ ㄕˋ ㄘㄨㄥˊ。
ㄕˇ ㄑㄧㄣˊ ㄕˇ ㄩㄥˇ, ㄅㄧˋ ㄒㄧㄣˋ ㄅㄧˋ ㄓㄨㄥ;
ㄧˋ ㄒㄧㄣ ㄧˋ ㄉㄜˊ, ㄍㄨㄢˋ ㄔㄜˋ ㄕˇ ㄓㄨㄥ。

San-min-chu-yi, Wu-tang so tsung;
yi-chien Min-kuo, yi-chin ta-t'ung.
Tzu erh to-shih, wei min ch'ien-feng;
su-yeh-fei-hsieh, chu-yi shih ts'ung.
Shih-ch'in-shih-yung, pi hsin pi chung;
yi-hsin-yi-te, kuan-ch'e-shih-chung.

Sānmínzhǔyì, wúdǎng suǒ zōng;
Yǐ jiàn Mínguó, yǐ jìn dà tóng.
Zī ěr duōshì, wèi mín qiánfēng;
Sùyèfěixiè, zhǔyì shì cóng.
Shǐqínshǐyǒng, bì xìn bì zhōng;
Yìxīnyìdé, guànchèshǐzhōng.

صً مٍ ﺟُﻮْ ىِ , ءُ دْا ﺻُﻮَع ذْﻮ
ىِ ﻛِﯿًﺎ مٍ ﻗُﻮَع , ىِ دٍ دَا ﺗْﻮ
ذِ ﻋَﺮ دُوَع شِ , وِ مٍ ﺛِﯿًﺎ ﻓْﻊ
ﺻُﻮْ اِئ ﻓُﻮِٔ ﺛِﻰٔ , ﺟُﻮْ ىِ شِ ﺿْﻮ
شِ شٍ شِ ﻳْﻮ , بِ سٍ بِ ﺟْﻮ
ىِ سٍ ىِ دْ , ﻗُﻮًا چْ شِ ﺟْﻮ

The lyrics are in classical literary Chinese. For example,

  • ěr (爾) is a literary equivalent of both singular and plural "you" (which are differentiated in modern Chinese) depending on the context. In this case, it is plural "you".
  • fěi (匪) is a classical synonym of "not" (不 bù). And
  • (咨) is a classical, archaic interjection, and is not used in this sense in the modern vernacular language.

In this respect, the national anthem of the Republic of China stands in contrast to the People's Republic of China's "The March of the Volunteers", which was written a few years later entirely in modern vernacular Chinese.

As well as being written in classical Chinese, the national anthem follows classical poetic conventions. The style follows that of a four-character poem (四言詩), also called a four-character rhymed prose (四言韻文), first appeared in the Zhou Dynasty. The last character of each line rhymes in -ong or -eng, which are equivalent in ancient Chinese. Because of the concise and compact nature of poetry, some words in the text have different interpretations, evident in the two translations below.


The official version, translated by Tu Ting-yi is used when the anthem lyrics are described in foreign-language guides to the ROC published by the government.


San Min Chu-i,
Our aim shall be:
To found a free land,
World peace, be our stand.
Lead on, comrades,
Vanguards ye are.
Hold fast your aim,
By sun and star.
Be earnest and brave,
Your country to save,
One heart, one soul,
One mind, one goal...


Three Principles of the People,
The foundation of our party.
Using this, we establish the Republic;
Using this, we advance into a state of total peace.
Oh, you, warriors,
For the people, be the vanguard.
Without resting day or night,
Follow the Principles.
Swear to be diligent; swear to be courageous.
Obliged to be trustworthy; obliged to be loyal.
With one heart and one virtue,
We carry through until the very end.

Lines seven and eight of the Tu and literal translations seem to vary dramatically, but the Tu translation is actually just in inverse order, probably to suit a more natural English word order. The words "day" and "night" are replaced by the metonyms "sun" and "star". Also, classical Chinese poetry allows for a great amount of license in interpretation.

The real differences are caused by the official interpretations, where some political and martial words have had their other connotations emphasized:

  1. "Our party" (吾黨) has been extended to be "our alliance", meaning "of us together", including the non-party members. (Translated in the Tu version as "our")
  2. "Warriors" (多士) personifies the persistence and fighting spirits in all citizens, including the civilians. ("Comrades")
  3. "Vanguard" (前鋒) symbolizes the "model citizens".

Such is taught in ROC schools, but some consider the elaboration of those phrases to be an inconsistent and unfaithful interpretation of the original.

The "great unity" (大同) has been interpreted to mean "total world harmony" (世界大同) and is a Confucian term used in the Great Learning as the ultimate aim that humans should strive for. However, the term was also occasionally used in the nineteenth century as a translation of the term "socialism" (the term for "Communism" 共産 was actually a Japanese word, and some scholars feel the more correct Chinese term for the translation should be 大同). Sun Yat-sen's philosophy was that by providing for a strong China which could relate to the world as an equal, world harmony could be achieved.

Use in the ROC

It is generally heard on important occasions such as graduations and flag-raising ceremonies. But for many years it was played before all movie performances. The song was once used to identify illegal migrants to Taiwan from mainland Fujian as they would not be able to sing the anthem. Reportedly this is no longer effective, since migrants to Taiwan now learn the song before crossing the straits.[citation needed]

Because it was originally the party song of Kuomintang (KMT) and was drafted in Mainland China as the speech to Whampoa Military Academy (a military school founded by KMT), those strongly supporting Taiwan independence have objected to its use as the national anthem. To them, the phrase "our party" (吾黨) is taken to refer to the KMT. The moderate interpretation interprets "our party" (吾黨) to have the more general meaning as "we", as its original meaning in Chinese before the existence of political parties, where the word refers to a group people linked together by similar ideologies or common benefits.

The Democratic Progressive Party has accepted the current national anthem of the Republic of China but often plays it in a strongly Taiwanese context such as having it sung by a choir of Taiwanese aboriginals or in Taiwanese (Min Nan) or Hakka.

The song is banned in mainland China and although not formally banned in Hong Kong and Macau, its public performance there is rare. At Chen Shui-bian's inauguration in 2000, the national anthem was sung by popular Taiwanese singer A-Mei, which led to her being banned from touring in mainland China for a few months.

At international events such as Olympic Games when the ROC is not allowed to use its official name, it uses the name Chinese Taipei instead. Furthermore, the National Banner Song is played in place of the National Anthem of the Republic of China due to pressure from the People's Republic of China over the political status of Taiwan.

See also


  1. ^ The Republic of China (ROC, commonly known as Taiwan) was recognized as the government of mainland China prior to 1949. Since then the Republic of China has controlled Taiwan and some other nearby islands. The Republic of China was replaced by the People's Republic of China (PRC) at the United Nations in 1971.
  2. ^ Informally, the song is sometimes known as "San Min Chu-i" or "Three Principles of the People" from its opening line, but this is never used in formal or official occasions.


  • Reed W. L. and Bristow M. J. (eds.) (2002) "National Anthems of the World", 10 ed., London
  • Cassell, p. 526. ISBN 0-304-36382-0

External links

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