I was reading the Renmin ribao 人民日报 (People’s Daily) and came across a reference to a 1971 film called “The Visit to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam by a Delegation from the Chinese Communist Party and Government” (中国党政代表团访问越南民主共和国). This film was about the March 1971 visit to Hanoi by Zhou Enlai.

visit

This is some of what the article said about the film:

“The beginning of the film takes us to the warm scene of the Vietnamese people solemnly welcoming a friendship delegation of the Chinese Communist Party and government led by member of the Central Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China and Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhou Enlai. Everywhere in the heroic city of Hà Nội, which is decorated festively for the occasion, is permeated with the joyful atmosphere of the united struggle of the Vietnamese and Chinese peoples. Warmly welcoming their Chinese fighting friends, the Vietnamese people dance with joy, from Gia Lâm airport, to Chi Linh Park, from in front of the army guesthouse [迎宾馆 ?] to Ba Đình Square. One smiling face after another that is filled with victorious resolve welcomes the Chinese fighting friends, and one bunch after another of fresh flowers that symbolize the joy of victory is offered to the Chinese brothers.”

影片一开始,就把我们引入越南人民隆重欢迎以中共中央政治局常委、国务院总理周恩来同志为团长的中国党政代表团友好访问的热烈场面。披着节日盛装的英雄城市河内,到处洋溢着越中两国人民团结战斗的欢乐气氛。喜迎中国战友的越南人民在欢舞,不论在嘉林机场,还是在芝灵公园;不论在迎宾馆前,还是在巴亭会堂,一张张充满着必胜信念的笑脸,迎向中国战友,一束束象征着胜利喜悦的鲜花,献给中国兄弟。

kids

Then I found on the Internet that there was apparently another film produced in 1973 called “Warmly Welcoming the Delegation from the from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s Communist Party and Government” (热烈欢迎越南民主共和国党政代表团). This was a film about a visit to China by some government figures from the DRV, and the film reportedly contained a song composed by Vietnamese composer Đỗ Nhuận called “Vietnam – China” (越南—中国) that went as follows:

越南中國山連山江連江

共臨東海我們友誼向朝陽

Vietnam and China’s mountains and rivers are joined as one,

Both border the East Sea and face the rising sun.

共飲一江水朝相見晚相望

清晨共聽雄雞高唱

Drinking the water of the same river, we see each other morning and night,

And together hear the cock’s crow at dawn’s first light.

啊——共理想心相連

勝利的路上紅旗飄揚

Ah. . .

We have the same aspirations and are hearts are joined,

Over the road to victory flutters the red flag.

啊——

我們高呼萬歲

胡志明毛澤東

Ah. . .

We shout out “Long live

Ho Chi Minh and Mao Zedong!”

越南中國團結緊隊伍強

打擊敵人我們並肩戰斗有力量

Vietnam and China are united closely and our troops are strong,

In attacking the enemy, we fight shoulder to shoulder, we have strength.

兄弟情義長前進路上不分離

為共同勝利高聲歌唱

With our fraternal feelings, on the march forward we will never part,

For our mutual victory, we sing out loud.

啊——共理想心相連

列寧的路上紅旗飄揚

Ah. . .

We have the same aspirations and are hearts are joined,

Over the road to Lenin flutters the red flag.

啊——

我們高呼萬歲

胡志明毛澤東

我們高呼萬歲

胡志明毛澤東

Ah. . .

We shout out “Long live

Ho Chi Minh and Mao Zedong!”

We shout out “Long live

Ho Chi Minh and Mao Zedong!”

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It is interesting to see when these films were produced, because right in between the two years when these films came out was the fateful year of 1972 when Mao and Nixon met and shook hands.

The 1971 Renmin ribao article states that “Chairman Mao has pointed out that ‘The 700,000,000 Chinese are the backup support of the Vietnamese people, and the vast territory of China is the backup base of the Vietnamese people.’ If anyone amongst us says anything about not being able to help the Vietnamese people in their struggle to resist American and save the country, then that is treachery, it is betraying the revolution.”

毛主席指出:“七亿中国人民是越南人民的坚强后盾,辽阔的中国领土是越南人民的可靠后方。”如果我们中间有谁讲出不能帮助越南人民抗美救国斗争的话,那就是叛变,就是背叛革命。

Interesting. . .

film

On the one hand, it is easy to dismiss all of this as propaganda or empty words, but on the other hand, this was an important aspect of the times. When diplomatic historians study the past, they have traditionally tended to talk about the meetings that were held and the decisions that were made by government leaders. Films and songs do not often find a place in their analysis, but they were part of the overall strategy, so understanding how they fit and what their purpose was is important for understanding the past.

In any case, I would certainly love to see these movies. To see them today, some 40 years after the fact, would be fascinating.