Morning Sun


In this section we feature some of the cultural 'red noise' that created the unique atmosphere of the Cultural Revolution era. Through the use of personal documents, we also seek to provide rare insights into the mindset of individuals of the time.

Listen to the Radio | Watch TV | Watch a Movie

In the revolutionary atmosphere of 1960s China, life was suffused with the sights and sound of the state. On the Cultural Revolution radio, you can hear (in Chinese, with translated English text) some of the major songs of the period, including the Cultural Revolution 'anthem', Sailing the Seas Depends on the Helmsman, a Mao poem put to music, as well as Mao 'quotation songs' (yulu ge). [See more on the Music page.] On the TV you can see selections of mass rallies of the kind that marked the progress of revolutionary time; On the movie page, you can see short excerpts from a few of the films that we have collected in our archive.

Artist and Writer Huang Yongyu: A Can of Worms

This section introduces a bestiary by one of the most original Chinese artists and writers whose 'animal crackers' — playful and ironic animal epigrams with accompanying pictures — were (unofficially) famous before the rise of the Red Guards in 1966. Huang's quips, and pictures, can be seen in Chinese and English here.

Personnel Files (geren dang’an)

Personnel Files reveal the inner, or rather hidden, bureaucratic workings of the state before, during and after the Cultural Revolution era. This section draws from the secretive materials that formed the backdrop to the lives of innumerable people during the high socialist era. (HTML version)

Ask Chairman Mao for the Answers

A 'user's guide' to The Quotations of Chairman Mao, illustrates how Mao Zedong Thought was supposed to be applied to everyday situations. (HTML version)

The Miracles of Chairman Mao: Two Films, "A Song of Triumph" and "Youth"

The paired movies presented here show the treatment of deaf-and-dumb children. A Song of Triumph (excerpts of which appear in Morning Sun) is a propaganda film about the successes of PLA soldiers treating afflicted children; Youth is a feature film made by Xie Jin in 1977 that features Joan Chen (Chen Chong) in her first screen role.

English Lessons: A Picture of Chairman Mao and A Black Boy in America

Even those who could speak had to parrot inanities; those who studied English had to learn the simple lessons of Mao Thought as applied to such topics as race relations in the US. (A Picture of Chairman Mao Lesson HTML version)

A Soldier's Diary

This section provides excerpts (only in Chinese at this stage) from the diary of a provincial soldier stationed in Beijing, the heart of the Chinese revolution. His writings provide insights into the daily dilemmas of a young man trying to put Mao Zedong Thought into practice. (HTML version)

The East is Red
A Song-and-Dance EpicThe East is Red became the underlying theme (and title) of a song-and-dance epic produced in 1964 that plays a key role in Morning Sun. Here you can watch the entire production, divided into scenes with the original Chinese songs and English translations. (HTML version)

Transformation of a Love SongThe East is Red started out as a peasant love song, and here you can follow its progress to becoming a call to arms in the Anti-Japanese War, and a paean extolling Chairman Mao, the savior of the Chinese people. (HTML version)

Launching a Satellite— When China launched its first satellite in 1970, once more it was the song The East is Red that rang out through the heavens; here you can see documentary footage of the launching of the satellite, precursor to the October 2003 manned space-flight of Yang Liwei. (HTML version)

Feature Films and Stage Productions from the Cultural Revolution era

As the old culture both of China and of socialist China were swept away by revolutionary fervor (see some of the films denounced by Jiang Qing), new works, revolutionary Beijing Operas (geming xiandai jingxi) and ballets (geming xiandai baleiwuju), were created and excerpts can be seen here. Cartoon films including the popular story of the Monkey King (Sun Houwang; Sun Wukong), Great Uproar in Heaven and others (Heroic Sisters on the Grassland, The Ferry Port) are also accessible here.

Feature Films

The Gadfly | Dong Cunrui | Song of Youth | Lenin in 1918 | Lei Feng | Never Forget | Storm of Anger

Modern Beijing Operas

Red Lantern | On the Docks | Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy | Song of the Dragon River | Shajiabang | Azalea Mountain | Raid on White Tiger Regiment

Revolutionary Ballets

The Red Detachment of Women | White-Haired Girl

Animated Films

Great Uproar in Heaven | Heroic Little Sisters on the Grassland | The Ferry Port


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