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Pass on the Red Flags
Beijing Opera: Red Women Detachment

9 September 2012

京剧《红色娘子军》选段: 接过红旗肩上扛

The Red Women Detachment was an all-female Red Army troop active in China's Hainan Island about some 80 years ago. The initial motivation for the young girls and young women to join the Red Army was to remove the oppressive and exploitative mafia-style elite rule and campaign for women's liberation and dignity.

Their heroic story was first made into a film that becomes a classic, and later the film was adapted for ballet which is known as one of the "Eight Model Operas", and then the ballet drama was adapted for Beijing Opera with many ear-pleasing arias still performed on stage today.

This popular short aria was sung by a servant girl-turned red warrior when she was appointed to be the new CCP representative of the detachment after the death of her predecessor who refused to surrender to the returned local tyrant and was burned alive under an aging banian tree.

The newly installed leading warrior swore to carry the red flag left by the martyr and continue to fight for a new China that shall be free of social oppression, economic exploitation and gender discrimination.

Such a fanciful new China did become a reality in 1949 when Mao Zedong declared that Chinese people have stood up. But only briefly. After Mao Zedong passed away on September 9, 1976, especially in the recent ten years, mafias return and tyrants rule.

Du Jinfang is the disciple of Mei Lanfang and one of the best Mei-style Beijing Opera Singers. Her most memorable stage roles include Xie Yaohuai in Xie Yaohuai and Lady Lin in Wild Boar Woods .


Chinese People Pay Tribute to Mao Zedong

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