Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The National Anthem of Taiwan

Often called "San Min Chu I" (pronounced "San Min Joo Ee"), from the first line of the anthem, the lyrics are taken from the text of a speech given by Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the first president of China at the opening ceremony of the Whampoa Military Academy. The music was composed by Cheng Mao-Yun. The anthem was first selected as the anthem for the entirety of China when controlled by the Kuomintang (1930-1949).

After the Kuomintang government was ousted by the Communists in 1949, the Kuomintang government fled to the island of Taiwan and continued their government their, using the same state symbols they had on mainland China.

There is some debate as to whether it should remain the national anthem of Taiwan; some oppose it since it was composed in mainland China, while others because it was (and still remains) the party anthem of just one of Taiwan's parties. There is a support by some to use the alternate national anthem, "The Flag Raising Song", which is used to represent Taiwan at international events like the Olympic Games due to pressure from mainland China, but also is used locally as a song played at flag raising.

The current Taiwanese anthem is presently banned from performance on mainland China and strongly discouraged from being performed in Hong Kong.

Ch'eng Mao-yün (1900 - 1957), Chinese composer, was a professor at National Central University and Hangzhou Societal University. He composed the "National Anthem of the Republic of China."

He was born in Xinjian County, Jiangxi to a family of officials. He studied music in Jiangxi Provincial Higher Normal School, and the Ueno Music Academy in Tokyo. He majored in violin, then music theory, and Musical composition|composition. In 1928, his submission of the melody of "Three Principles of the People" was chosen. In 1947, he travelled to Taiwan for the first time, where Hsiao Er-hua, head of the College of Music in the Taiwan Provincial Normal University, offered Ch'eng Mao-yün a position, but he refused. He never returned to Taiwan again and was reputedly killed by the People's Republic of China|Chinese Communist government because of his contribution to the Kuomintang.

The official university song of the National Central University, now on Taiwan, is also composed by Ch'eng Mao-yün.

His wife and son are also muscians. Zhang Yongzhen Ch'eng's wife, is a piano professor at the Xi'an Music Academy. His son, Zhang Jiannan (born 1945) is also a composer.

The stamp above right was issued in 1971 (a set of 4) during National Day. It shows the score of the anthem. The stamp above left ( a set of 3) is Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the lyricist issued in 1965.