Translation: “Ethnic Harmony” Song in Xinjiang

CDT translation contributor Alicia translates a song that she found to be ubiquitous during her time living in , the capital of the Uyghur Autonomous Region. has since 2014 been the frontline a highly controversial crackdown on terrorism that has been criticized by human rights advocates for targeting members of the Uyghur ethnic minority, and exacerbating ethnic tensions. The anti-terror campaign has been characterized by steadily tightening security measures, and the implementation of cutting-edge surveillance technology including a biometric data collection program. It has also included policies that appear to target Uyghurs, for example selective religious fasting banslocal and region-wide rules against “extremist behavior” including face veils or long beards, a ban on “extreme” Islamic baby names. Alicia first introduces the song, which seeks to encourage lasting ethnic unity in the diverse region, then offers an English translation of the tune, which is also embedded below:

In Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, a propaganda song pervades everyday life. The song is piped into shops and bazaars and schools. It blares from police fortifications throughout the city, so omnipresent that many long-time residents no longer hear it. I must have heard it ten times a day (a conservative estimate) during my nine months in Urumqi. Sung by children, the cloying yet oddly catchy tune lists Chinese virtues, emphasizing unity and harmony. It extols Eastern civilization, a term meant to group Turkic Muslim Uyghurs with their Han Chinese oppressors—and to incorporate Kazakhs, Tajiks, Mongols, and other groups living on this restive frontier. The song pulls no punches regarding its purpose, flat-out ordering listeners to engrave its message in their minds. It is certainly hardwired into mine, after at least 2,700 listenings.

-Alicia

‘Ethnic Harmony’ (民族融合) / ‘Declaration of the Chinese People’ (中国人宣言)

Rich and powerful, democracy, civilization, harmony, freedom, equality,

Just and fair, rule of law, patriotic, dedicated to work, honest, friendly.

Rich and powerful, democracy, civilization, harmony, freedom, equality,

Just and fair, rule of law, patriotic, dedicated to work, honest, friendly.

 

This is Eastern Civilization’s epic poem.

This is the declaration of China’s soul.

This is the first lesson we learn in school.

Values learned by heart from childhood!

 

This is Eastern Civilization’s epic poem.

This is the declaration of China’s soul.

This is the first lesson we learn in school.

Values learned by heart from childhood!

This is the first lesson we learn in school.

Values learned by heart from childhood!

 

Rich and powerful, democracy, civilization, harmony, freedom, equality,

Just and fair, rule of law, patriotic, dedicated to work, honest, friendly.

Rich and powerful, democracy, civilization, harmony, freedom, equality,

Just and fair, rule of law, patriotic, dedicated to work, honest, friendly.

Engrave it in your mind.

Fuse it with your heart.

This is the gold standard for our conduct.

Vigorously cultivate our values!

 

Engrave it in your mind.

Fuse it with your heart.

This is the gold standard for our conduct.

Vigorously cultivate our values!

This is the gold standard for our conduct.

Vigorously cultivate our values!

 

Rich and powerful, democracy, civilization, harmony, freedom, equality,

Just and fair, rule of law, patriotic, dedicated to work, honest, friendly.

Rich and powerful, democracy, civilization, harmony, freedom, equality,

Just and fair, rule of law, patriotic, dedicated to work, honest, friendly.

This is the most beautiful scenery in the world.

This is a magnificent new depiction of the Chinese dream.

This is the first step of our lives.

Forever practice our values!

 

This is the most beautiful scenery in the world.

This is a magnificent new depiction of the Chinese dream.

This is the first step of our lives.

Forever practice our values!

This is the first step of our lives.

Forever practice our values!

Forever practice our values!