An official and security personnel get checked at an entrance to Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Wednesday. Chinese authorities have closed Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square to the public, eight days ahead of a major celebration being planned to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Communist Party. (AP)
An official and security personnel get checked at an entrance to Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Wednesday. Chinese authorities have closed Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square to the public, eight days ahead of a major celebration being planned to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Communist Party. (AP)

Rap turns ‘100%’ patriotic in China for Communist party’s 100th birthday

The song is called ‘100%’, a 15-minute long single, meant to be an ode to China’s history under the Communist party. The idea is to arouse patriotism among the Chinese youth through pop culture.
By Sutirtho Patranobis I Edited by Amit Chanda
PUBLISHED ON JUN 23, 2021 02:14 PM IST

Rap music, usually known for its anti-establishment lyrics and artistes’ rage against society, has turned 100% patriotic in China. The occasion is rather heavy, of course - marking the upcoming 100 years of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).

The song is called 100%, a 15-minute long single, meant to be an ode to China’s history under the CPC.

The title, not unexpectedly, refers to both the 100th anniversary of the CPC and the 100 rappers who collaborated to release it, local media said. The idea behind releasing a patriotic rap song was to arouse patriotism among the Chinese youth through pop culture.

Hip-Hop Fusion, the music company behind 100%, told the website SixthTon that the song “expresses the patriotic soul of each rapper”.

State-run media highlighted the work of rappers from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and Tibet in the song, the remote provinces where the Chinese government has been accused of large-scale human rights violation of minority ethnicities especially, the Uighurs and Tibetans.

“Max Ma Jun, an artiste from northwest China’s XUAR expressed “loyalty to the country” and “respect for different voices” in his verse, whereas Buttons, a rapper from Qamdo in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region wrote in the song that ‘the spirit of five stars is imprinted on my chest’,”, the Global Times reported.

“From impoverishment to brilliance, I have no regrets that I grew up in a Chinese family in this life,” raps one of the artistes JR Fog.

“We used to look forward to the Red Army, a spring breeze all over the Earth. Keep tradition in mind, achieve socialism, as the red flag stays in my heart,” another artiste Colan sings.

“New China must get lit,” sings another rapper HEAT J.

Many of China’s best-known rappers are missing from the song’s list of collaborators.

“Perhaps the biggest (artiste) is Jiang Yunsheng, one of the rising stars in the reality show Rap for Youth in 2020 and who now boasts a legion of over 2 million fans on the microblogging platform Weibo,” reported SixthTone.

This is not the first time China’s propaganda apparatus has tried rap to reach out to the youth.

In 2019, China’s official news agency, Xinhua, co-produced a rap video entitled Two Sessions: To the World from China to mark the annual session of the parliament - the National People’s Congress - and the country’s top political advisory body.

In 2018, the CPC mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, released an animated rap video on Two Sessions, which included vox pop-style interviews with citizens and even a few foreigners.

A series of events are being held across China to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC including an ongoing party-wide campaign on CPC history learning and education.

On July 1, President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, will deliver an important speech.

Xi will also present the July 1 Medal and certificate to party members on the day for contributing to the CPC’s cause.

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