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Three Principles of the People (anthem)

"Three Principles of the People" usually refers to the doctrine by the same name.

"San Min Chu-i" (三民主義 in pinyin: Sān Mn Zhǔy), translated "Three Principles of the People", is the title of the national anthem of the Republic of China on Taiwan. It uses the doctrine to explain how the vision and hopes of a new nation and its people can and should be achieved and maintained (see section "Lyrics").

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The text of "San Min Chu-i" was the collaboration between several Kuomintang members,

  • Hu Han-min (胡漢民 H Hnmn),
  • D'ai Chi-t'ao (戴季陶 Di Jtāo),
  • Liao Chung-k'ai (廖仲愷 Lio Zhōngkai), and
  • Shao Yan-ch'ung (邵元沖 Sho Yunchōng).
The first public appearance of this text was on July 16, 1924, when Sun Yat-sen began his lecture with this speech at the school opening ceremony of Guangzhou Whampoa Military Academy.

After the success of the Northern Expedition, Kuomintang chose the text to be its party anthem. In 1928, the party publicly solicited for music. 139 musicians attempted, and Ch'eng Mao-yn's work was chosen.

On March 24, 1930, numerous Kuomintang members proposed to use "San Min Chu-i" as the national anthem. However, there were those who opposed using a symbol of a party to represent a nation. So the National Anthem Editing and Research Committee (國歌編製研究委員會) was set up, which supported the Kuomintang position. On June 3, 1937, the Central Standing Committee (中央常務委員會) approved the proposal, and in 1943, it officially became the national anthem.

"San Min Chu-i" was chosen as the world's best national anthem at the 1936 Summer Olympics.


Original text:


The lyrics is in an extremely literary Classical Chinese. For example,

  • ěr (爾) is a literary equivalent of "you" (你們),
  • fěi (匪) is "not" (不 b). And
  • (咨) is a completely unused interjection nowadays.
In this respect, "San Min Chu-i" stands in contrast to the People's Republic of China's "The March of the Volunteers", which is written a few years later in modern vernacular Chinese entirely.

As well as being classical, "San Min Chu-i" is poetic. The style follows that of a four-character poem (四言詩), also called a four-character rhymed prose (四言韻文), first appeared in the Han Dynasty. The last character of each line rhymes in -ong (some are pinyinized as -eng). Because of the conciseness and compact nature of poetry, some words in the text have different interpretations, evident in the two translations below.

The semi-official version, translated by Tu Ting-hsiu (杜廷修?), is used when the anthem lyrics is described in foreign-language guides to the ROC published by the government.


San Min Chu-i,
Our aim shall be:
To found, a free land,
World peace, be our stand.
Lead on, comrades[?],
Vanguards ye are.
Hold fast your aim,
By sun and star.
Be earnest and brave,
Your country to save,
One heart, one soul,
One mind, one goal.


San Min Chui-i,
The fundamental of our party.
Using this, we establish the Country for the People;
Using this, we advance into a state of total peace.
Oh, you, warriors
For the people, be the vanguard.
Without resting day or night,
Follow the Principles.
Swear to be diligent; swear to be courageous.
Obliged to be trustworthy; obliged to be loyal.
With one heart and one virtue,
We carry through until the very end.

Lines seven and eight of the Tu and literal translations seem to vary dramatically, but the Tu translation is actually just in inverse order, properly to suit a more native English word order. Also, "day" and "night" are replaced by the metonyms[?] "sun" and "star". Also, classical Chinese poetry allows for a great amount of license in interpretation.

The real differences are caused by the official interpretations, where some political and martial words have their other significances emphasized:

  1. "Our party" (吾黨) has been extended to be "our alliance", meaning "of of us together", including the non-party members. (Translated in the Tu version as "our")
  2. "Warriors" (多士) personifies the the persistence and fighting spirits in all citizens, including the civilians. ("Comrades")
  3. "Vanguard" (前鋒) symbolizes the "model citizens".

Such is taught in Taiwanese schools, but some consider the elaboration of those phrases to be an inconsistent and unfaithful interpretation of the original.

Politically uncontroversial, the "total harmony" (大同) has been interpreted to mean "total world harmony" (世界大同) and is a Confucian term used in the Great Learning as the ultimate aim that humans should strive for. Sun Yat-sen's philosophy was that by providing for a strong China which could relate to the world as an equal, world harmony could be achieved.

The song is very frequently heard in Taiwan. For many years it was played before all movie performances. The song was also used to identify illegal migrants to Taiwan from Fujian province[?] as the migrants would not be able to sing the anthem. Reportedly this is no longer effective, as migrants to Taiwan now learn the song before crossing the straits.

Because of its association with the Kuomintang and the fact that it was originally drafted in Mainland China, some people on Taiwan particularly those strongly supporting Taiwan independence have objected to its use as national anthem. However, the Democratic Progressive Party has accepted the national anthem, however the DPP often plays the national anthem in a strongly Taiwanese context such as having the national anthem sung by a choir of Taiwanese aboriginals or having it sung in Taiwanese or Hakka.

The song is banned in Mainland China and although not formally banned, its public performance in Hong Kong is strongly discouraged. At Chen Shuibian 's inaugaration in 2000, the national anthem was sung by popular singer Ah-Mei[?], which led to her to be banned from touring in Mainland China for a few months.

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