Chinese Protest Songs - Essay Example

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Carnegie Mellon University
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Protest songs have long since been used in various demonstrations by civilians to demand their needs and rights from a global perspective. The songs can be perceived to act as symbols of a unity and common goal among the demonstrators. They also provide more power to the demonstrators as they communicate a common message or rather touch on sensitive issues that affect the civilians. China is among the countries that is currently challenged by demonstrators in which plenty of protest songs have been used in the movements in addition tp looking down on the nations national anthem. Chinas political system is viewed to exhibit flaws with respect to democracy (Bell). The government is viewed not to exhibit any pretense of ensuring that national elections are held and punishing individuals who openly demand a multiparty democracy (Bell). From an analytical perspective, the power affiliated with the symbols used in protests including songs makes the Chinese government limit protest songs in mainland China.

The analysis highlights the use of songs and other symbols during the protests in China. It is perceived that the demonstrators have engaged in mass sessions of songs with the 90s Cantonese hit being a popular lyric among them (Coleman). The song Under a Vast Sky by Canto-rock band Beyond that includes lyrics that highlight the aspect of freedom, is also among the favorite protest songs. The song is viewed to have gained popularity despite being released in the 90s due to its significance. Other songs include Do You Hear the People Sing? emanating from the Les Miserables musical and Imagine by John Lennon. The pro-democracy institution in Hong Kong is characterized by a yellow ribbon. The protestors also used the song, Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree by Tony Orlando and Dawn to further broaden their perspectives. The yellow ribbons were mostly tied to trees and railings which surround the government buildings. It is perceived that supporters from other parts of the world pinned the ribbons on their shirts and post the pictures online to show that they are in support of Hong Kong demonstrators. The color is perceived to have been quite common in suffrage movements including the women suffrage movement in the U.S. at the beginning of the 19th century. Nonetheless, individuals against the demonstrations put on blue ribbons to indicate that were annoyed with the damages caused by the demonstration and hence supporting the police to deal with the aggression. The crossing of arms is also another symbol used by the protestors to show the dissatisfaction associated with the government (Coleman). With that, it can be perceived that the Chinese government limits the use of protest songs in mainland China to limit the power of the demonstrators as the songs illustrate the special relevance of the protests.

The ongoing protects in Hong Kong emanate from the need for democracy. Any elements from protestors that include songs, go-slows are considered illegal and that they undermine the Chinese government. According to an article in the New York Times by Austin Ramzy, Hong Kong fans and the athletes protested the Chinese national anthem during the Asian Cup qualifier. It is perceived that despite Hong Kong returning to Chinas rule in 1997, it participates as a separate body in sports. The protests during the match are viewed to have emanated from the fans who hold the view that the identity and autonomy of Hong Kong are being undermined by China. The writer states, A few even hold up signs advocating independence, an idea that mainland and local officials denounce as illegal, (Ramzy) In other words, the government views any form of protest as illegal and hence employing limitations. It is perceived that the authorities are formulating strict measures against the protest that occurred in the game and is still exhibited in other games. A good example is the approval of a policy by the nations legislature to prohibit any form of disrespect towards the national anthem, excluding the song from any parodies or advertisements, and laying out the consequences for individuals who would not show any respect when the anthem is played (Ramzy). The Umbrella Movement protests that occurred in Hong Kong three years ago is viewed to have ended without the authorities developing any resolution regarding the residents views on local elections. It is perceived that the jeers that took place during the sports revived the spirit of the movement. Ramzy states, Hong Kong played China in World Cup qualifiers twice in 2015, and those matches took on an added political dimension coming a year after the street protests. According to the fans, they protest impulsively because they believe that they do not belong to the Peoples Republic of China.

As stated earlier, from an analytical perspective, the power affiliated with the symbols used in protests including songs makes the Chinese government limit protest songs in mainland China. The basic reason for limiting the protests songs is that the songs illustrate the special relevance of the protests and hence possibly giving the protestors more power to continue with the demonstrations. The laws imposed by the government to undermine the protestors are made with the view that the protests are illegal.

Works Cited

Bell, Daniel. "Chinese Democracy Isn't Inevitable: Can A Political System Be Democratically Legitimate Without Being Democratic?" The Atlantic, 2015,, Jasmine. "Hong Kong Protests: The Symbols And Songs Explained." BBC News, 2014,

Ramzy, Austin. "In Hong Kong, ItS The Fans Who Protest During The National Anthem." The New York Times, 2017,

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