March of the Volunteers is the national anthem of the People's Republic of China, written by the noted poet and playwright Tian Han with music composed by Nie Er. The piece was first performed as part of a 1934 Shanghai play. In 2004, a provision that March of the Volunteers be the national anthem was added to the Constitution of the People's Republic of China as Article 136.
Origins as National Anthem
March of the Volunteers was written by Tian Han during the 1934 Republic of China era for a play he was writing at that time. It was told that he wrote the lyrics on a tobacco paper after being arrested in Shanghai and thrown into a Kuomintang (KMT) jail in 1935. The song, with a minor alteration, became the theme song of the 1935 patriotic film Sons and Daughters in a Time of Storm, a story about an intellectual who leaves to fight in the Second Sino-Japanese War. It was one of many songs that were promoted secretly among the population as part of the anti-Japanese resistance.
In June of 1949, a committee was set up by the Communist Party of China to decide on an official national anthem for the soon-to-be declared People's Republic of China. By the end of August, the committee had received 6,926 submissions. March of the Volunteers was suggested by painter Xu Beihong and almost unanimously supported by the members of the committee. On September 27th, 1949, the song became the provisional national anthem, just days before the founding of the People's Republic of China.
The National People's Congress made the song the official PRC anthem in a 2004 amendment of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China.
Introduction of Songwriters:
Nie Er (February 14, 1912 — July 17, 1935) was a Chinese composer, known for composing the national anthem of the People's Republic of China, March of the Volunteers. In numerous Shanghai magazines he went by the English name "George Njal".