Chairman Mao’s Brilliance Illuminates Tibet: A Song Selection (1976)

A joint collaboration compiled by the Tibetan People’s Publishing House and the People’s Music Publishing House and published by the People’s Music Publishing House in 1976 in Beijing.


In the preface, written in October of 1975, it is revealed that the year before this work was published was the 10-year anniversary of the founding of the Tibetan Autonomous Region and thus, although it is not explicitly stated, this statement and the period in which they worked on this would seem to imply that this booklet of songs was compiled as part of that anniversary celebration. The themes and lyrics present strong evidence that this book is more representative of work of propaganda due to the ubiquitous presence of messages promoted by the government rather than a collection of Tibetan folk songs. The songs presented as Tibetan folk songs in this compilation are clearly adapted propaganda.

Themes: Mao’s brilliance, slaves emancipated and now on the road of socialism with Chairman Mao and/or education, ethnic nationality solidarity, unbreakable proletarian dictatorship, a socialist Tibet, study of Marxist-Leninism, study of Dazhai, study of Daqing, Criticize Linbiao and Criticize Confucius, Cultural Revolution, good harvest, the village of Li Mai in Lhunze County, Lhoka Prefecture, solidarity (between those in industry and agriculture, soldiers, and students obey the guidance and direction of the party), service for the commune, technological advancement brought by various factors (such as socialism, cultural revolution, the party), nomad life, red flag symbolism, support of the air force, the town of Gesang, support of the army, filial support of the family, Plateau militia, A New Tibetan generation, growing up, general themes of patriotism, love of the borderlands.

Song Title: “Emancipated Slaves Attend University”

Final Section of the song “Emancipated Slaves Attend University”

Lyrics to “Emancipated Slaves Attend University”:
1. Snow mountains raise up the red sun, the grasslands a new scene, songs in the heart can’t be sung to the finish, red hearts (=hearts loyal to the proletarian revolution) fly towards the sun.
Men: Why is the mood today especially agitated?
Women: Because the emancipated slaves are attending university, how am I not to be called elated?
Male and female(with different directions, but in unison): Ai, Chairman Mao, you are the red sun in our hearts, (your) brilliance illuminates the new Tibet, it illuminates the depths of our hearts, it illuminates the depths of our hearts. Your loving kindness will never be forgotten.

2. Maoist thought points the way, a new generation is growing up, emancipated slaves attend university, revolution in the end doesn’t lose its course.
Men: Why are the former slaves today able to attend university?
Women: Because the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution’s triumph is glorious.
Male and Female(with different directions, but in unison): Ai, Chairman Mao, the path you guide is broad and vast, your kindness is deep like the ocean it will never be forgotten, your kindness is deep like the ocean it will never be forgotten, it illuminates the depths of our hearts. Your loving kindness will never be forgotten.

Song Title: “Machala Workers Study Daqing”

Note: Machala is a mining town in Riwoche county in Qamdo prefecture. (Eastern Tibet)

Second half of the song “Machala Workers Study Daqing”

Lyrics to “Machala Workers Study Daqing”:
The snow lotus blooms facing the sun, the Tibetan plateau raises the red flag, the spirit of Daqing releases radiance, it takes (Daqing’s) coal war song and spreads it out in all directions. Ai, Machala workers’ ambition is great, it opens up the mining industry it achieves victory. Ai, fighting the heat, fighting the heat, revolution’s lofty sentiments fills one’s chest. Revolution’s lofty sentiments fills one’s chest.
(Note at the bottom of the page specifies that “fighting the heat” means “it’s just like this”, here it serves as a lining word→ what it doesn’t explain is that lining words are words in folk songs used to set off, to provide emphasis through contrast. In the songs themselves, they don’t just show off the style and features of an ethnic nationality or the special characteristics of a place, but they also play up the song’s atmosphere and the vivacity of the singer’s emotions, strengthening the tone of the song and the melody. Source:

1. Serfs emancipated become masters, they draw out the power of the borderlands. Han and Tibetan workers hearts beat as one, forever follow the Communist Party, follow the Communist Party.
2. Maoist thought points the way, the revolution’s paean is more resonant. Machala’s workers study Daqing, in high spirits they take great strides forward, forward.