Protest songs

Rocking against repression.

New Statesman
A detail from a portrait of musician Zuoxiao Zuzhou, shot by Ai Weiwei.

Qian Yunhui Is My Son
Zuoxiao Zuzhou

Long live the great Communist Party of China
Please bring the murderers who crushed my son to justice
Long live the great and wise Communist Party of China
Yueqing authorities cracked down on our bare-handed villagers
Yueqing authorities cracked down on our bare-handed villagers
My son’s grievance is deeper than the ocean
I will keep petitioning in Beijing till I die
I will keep petitioning in the Palace of Hell after I die
Long live the wise Communist Party of China
Please bring the murderers who crushed my son to justice
He was murdered by Yueqing authorities
Murdered by comrades in the township
It was a murder instead of a car accident, I knew quite well
Please bring them to justice
Long live the great and wise Communist Party of China

President Hu, you are so wise and great
You are the Chinese people’s sun that shines everywhere
You can save the lives of my three thousand fellow villagers
Our municipal government cracked down on us
My son is so wronged
What else could I have done
Justice must be done
It’s so rare for you people to sit down

The Peak
Zuoxiao Zuzhou

When you forget your past
When you satisfy your present
When you disregard your future
You are at the peak of your life
When you do not get carried away by success
When you do not get knocked down by failure
When you do not get drowned by the ordinary
You are at the peak of your life
My friend, don’t act like you don’t even care
You are at the peak of a crowd
How can you possibly not hear the children’s cry
La la la la, la la la la
La la la la, la la
La la la la, la la la la
La la la la, la la
When you can bear sudden unhappiness
And forget to wield your power
When you can be concerned with people’s
misfortune as well as salvation and consolation
You are at the peak of the spirit
When you can remember the past with
an indebted heart
And look forward with a hopeful heart
When you can look down with a gracious heart
as well as look up with an unashamed heart
You are on the peak of the soul
My friend, don’t act like you don’t even care
You are at the peak of a crowd
How can you possibly not hear the children’s cry
La la la la, la la la la
La la la la, la la

Child of China
Zhou Yunpeng

Don’t be a child of Karamay
Fire burns your skin and pains your mother’s heart
Don’t be a child of Shalan town
Under the inky black water, he wouldn’t
be able to sleep
Don’t be a child of Chengdu parents
Your drug junkie mother doesn’t go home for
seven days and nights
Ya ya ya ya
Don’t be a child of Henan parents
The Aids in your blood is laughing: ha ha
Don’t be a child of Shanxi parents
Your father disappeared into a basket of coal
Don’t ever think of seeing him again
Ya ya ya ya
Don’t be a child of Karamay
Don’t be a child of Shalan town
Don’t be a child of Chengdu parents
Don’t be a child of Henan parents
Don’t be a child of Chinese parents
When they’re starving they’d eat you up
They’re worse than the old goat in the wilderness,
Its eyes looking fierce to protect its young
Don’t be a child of Chinese parents
Fathers and mothers are all cowardly
To prove their hearts are as hard as stone
At moments of life or death, they leave life
to the leaders

Zuoxiao Zuzhou, original name Wu Hongjin, was born on 4 March 1970. He is a rock musician and composer and lives in Beijing. His music satirises China’s contemporary reality; over the past decade, he has become a leading figure on the Chinese underground rock music scene. The government recently banned him from giving public performances.

Zhou Yunpeng was born on 15 December 1970. At the age of nine, he lost his sight. He is a well-known independent Chinese folk singer and poet. He lives in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province.