Jeff Wasserstrom on music in protest and revolution in modern China


From the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 that ended the Qing dynasty to the Second Sino-Japanese War to Tiananmen in 1989 and Hong Kong 30 years later, songs have inspired and united people in protest and political movements in China. In this episode, Kaiser chats with Jeff Wasserstrom of the University of California, Irvine, about the anthems that have animated activism, and about Jeff’s new book, Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink.

The episode is part of the Serica Initiative’s series of California-based podcasts.

7:18: “Wolf,” by Chyi Chin

13:37: “Nothing to My Name,” by Cui Jian

30:47: “Glory to Hong Kong,” by Thomas dgx yhl

44:33: A preview of Jeff’s book, Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink


Jeff: 33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs, From Billie Holiday to Green Day, by Dorian Lynskey.

Kaiser: The albums Making Movies, by Dire Straits, and Voyage of the Acolyte, by Steve Hackett.

This podcast was edited and produced by Kaiser Kuo and Jason MacRonald.