Paul Robeson in China

Paul Robeson was an African-American singer who sang The Chinese “March of the Volunteers” in Both Chinese and English around the world. He has never been to China, but has camaraderie with many Chinese artists and democracy fighters. A ceremony to commemorate the 110th birthday of Paul Robeson was held in Former Residence of Song Ching Ling in Beijing on April 9, 2016. The event was hosted by Research Center of China Soong Ching Ling Foundation and China Society of International Friends

Paul Robertson spent his life fighting for civil rights and public works. He graduated from Columbia University’s law school in 1923, and has since taken up theatrical and film production. 1925 The first Negro spirituals were held with great success at the Harlan Theatre in New York. He rose to fame in 1927 when he sang old Man River in the famous American musical Cruise Ship.

Paul Robertson is respected and remembered by the Chinese people because he fought bravely against fascism and colonialism all his life and was a reliable and close friend of the Chinese people! His son Paul Robertson Jr. wrote to the event: “It is fitting that the Chinese people commemorate the 110th anniversary of the birth of Paul Robertson.”

Sing Chinese songs to the world:

In the summer of 1940, Liu Liangmo, a patriotic Chinese youth and social activist, was sent to the United States to study. He traveled to large, medium and small towns in the United States to publicize the heroic resistance of the Chinese people. In New York, Liu liangmo met Paul Robertson, known as the “king of the world”. Robertson asked about China’s war of resistance with concern, saying: “We blacks and the Chinese people are the same oppressed people, we must pay tribute to the Resolute Resistance of the Chinese people.” He asked Liu Liangmo to sing the March of the Volunteers and some Chinese folk songs to him over and over again until he learned them.

A few months later, Robertson gave an outdoor concert in New York. At the end of the evening, he sang the March of the Volunteers in Both Chinese and English. When he had finished, the audience burst into applause and asked him to sing it again.

“Rise, people who don’t want to be slaves…” Paul Robertson was deeply moved. Because both his parents had been slaves who had lost their personal freedom. His father escaped from the slaveholders at the age of 15, went through many hardships, arrived in the north of the United States, took up arms and fought in the famous Civil War. Although Robertson was freed from slavery, he still faced severe racial discrimination. “Because I was a black man, I couldn’t do this, I couldn’t do that, I couldn’t fight back… ”

In the spring of 1941, Robertson composed a young choir composed of Chinese American laundry workers, printers and hotel waiters under the command of Liu Liangmodel. The chorus, which was sung in Chinese, was titled “Get up! A famous record. Tian Han received payment from the United States during the Anti-Japanese War, his son Tian Shen recalled. The money, sent to Tian Han by Paul Robertson, was the remastering of Get Up! The royalties for this record.

Paul Robertson wrote on the album cover: “Get up! Is a song that is being sung by millions of Chinese people, a kind of unofficial national anthem. I’ve heard that it represents the invincible spirit of this nation. To be able to sing a new version of this song, to be able to sing an old folk song that a fighting people has added new words to, is a pleasure and a privilege.” Robertson predicted as early as 1941 that the “March of the Volunteers” would be China’s national anthem. This makes us have to admire his deep understanding of the spiritual connotation of this song!

2 Responses

  1. Steven at |

    hi, Great to come across this fascinating story, thanks for your jobs. And I have shared this on LinkedIn towards a better future of the mankind. Best wishes anyway.


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