Inspirational PLA Video

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[The following is a guest post by Mark Metcalf, a retired Naval officer and adjunct Lecturer in Chinese Literature at the University of Virginia.]

One of the joys of being semi-retired is having the luxury of being able to chase the occasional squirrel that appears in my field of view. This morning one of those squirrels appeared in the form of a South China Morning Post article:

"‘Just waiting for the order to kill, kill, kill’: China’s military tries to woo young recruits with slick video featuring rock and rap soundtrack" (5/4/16)

After watching the toe-tapping video I was intrigued (i.e., the squirrel), found the lyrics online, and translated them (i.e., chasing the squirrel).  A copy of my (rough) translation is appended below, as are the source URLs.  Note that the video in the SCMP article is missing the last 20 or so seconds so a link to a complete version is provided.

FWIW, my favorite lines of the lyrics are the seemingly incongruous: "Even if a bullet passes through my chest, my mission is still engraved in my heart".

I hope you find it interesting/entertaining. And, as always, your comments, corrections, and other insights are welcome.





“Combat Declaration” of the Powerful Striking Force from the Sky

Our task always on our mind 脑子里 永远有任务
The enemy always in our eyes 眼睛里 永远有敌人
Our duty always on our shoulders 肩膀上 永远有责任
Enthusiasm always in our chest 胸膛里 永远有激情
War can happen at any time and we’re always prepared! 战争随时爆发,我们随时准备着!

In the scorching sun or in moonlight we remember this cry 烈日和月光给我记住这种呐喊
I see my unshakeable brother arrive to lift gale force winds and billowing waves 看我铁 打的兄弟来了掀起狂风巨浪
Wherever we go we leave behind iron and steel strength 踏过的足迹留下钢铁的力量
One after the other solid chests in full battle array 一个一个坚实的胸膛时刻全副武装

Helmet on tight and cartridge belt fastened securely 扣紧你的钢盔勒紧子弹袋
Wearing combat boots and desert camouflage maintains my combat status 穿上战靴沙漠迷彩保持作战状态
Two arms swinging take me forward. Two legs striding move me ahead 双臂摆动向前带 双腿阔步朝前迈
An attitude of vowing, come hell or high water, to carry the revolutionary cause into the future 誓入刀 山火海的姿态继往开来

Time waits for no one as a life-or-death crisis has obviously already arrived 时不我 待生死关头显然已经到来
Orders As inviolate as mountains, see warfare always urgent 号令如山看金戈铁马一直迫不及待
Let your reputation shine. Bring out your mettle. 亮出你的招牌 拿出你的气概
With a willingness to face any danger, once again be accountable for justice 用万死不 辞再给正义一次交代

Are you afraid? (We’re not) Are you afraid? (We’re not) 你们怕不怕(不怕)怕不怕(不怕)
Wait and engage the enemy when the order is given (Kill. Kill. Kill.) 只等一声令下(杀杀杀)
Relying on innate loyalty and courage once again to shock 用天生的忠肝义胆再一次震撼
For our honorable peaceful brothers (Risking all!) 为了光荣的和平兄弟们(拼啦)

Even if a bullet passes through my chest 就算子 弹穿过我的胸膛
My mission is still engraved in my heart 使命依 然刻在我的心脏
Training from the central plains to the borders 从中原练到边疆
We can fight. We can be victorious. 能打仗 打胜仗

We constantly follow the Party’s order 时刻听从党的指挥
We defend our nation’s honor 国家尊严我们捍卫
A fighting force serving the nation with unreserved loyalty 精忠报国的拳头部队
Bearing the brunt. Who else but me? 首当其 冲 舍我其谁

Morale arises unbridled. A furious look flaring up. 士气疯狂上涨 杀气火冒三丈
Impregnable moral integrity. Confidence arising from belief.骨气固若金汤 底气源自信仰
Courage grasping opportunity. Righteousness tramples geographic advantage. 勇气攥 紧天时 正气踏着地利
Like a sickle and hammer we are merged into one. 就像镰 刀和锤头我们紧紧合二为一

(Peaceful Army) We are bodyguard for the motherland.(和平之师)我们做祖国的卫士
(Mighty Army) We are the teeth of a ferocious tiger.(威武之师)我们是猛虎的牙齿
(Cultured Army) Carrying forward an age-old history.(文明 之师)弘扬悠久的历史
(Righteous Army) Holding high the invincible banner.(正义之师)高举战无不胜的旗帜

Train troops a thousand days. (Thousand days) Actual combat a thousand times. (Thousand times) 练兵千 天(千天)实战千遍(千遍)
The confrontation is unavoidable so I dare to reveal the sword. (Reveal the sword) 狭路相逢所以我敢亮剑(亮剑)
I dare to do what must be done; in the army there is no joking. 敢做敢当因为军中无戏言
This is the pre-combat declaration.这是战斗前的宣言

Undergoing countless trials and repeatedly experiencing toughening 通过层层的考验经受一遍遍的历练
That flowing blood and sweat of the past is transformed into a bolt of lightning 那些曾 经流过的血和汗化成一道闪电
An unceasing and repeatedly flashing conviction. A continuously reinforced chain.不断频 闪着信念 不断加固这锁链
Surely your can hear that mighty sound! 气吞山河的声音你一定听得见

(Called upon at any hour. Able to fight when called. Certain of victory when fighting. Kill!) (召之 即来 来之能战 战之必胜 杀)


  1. Victor Mair said,

    May 4, 2016 @ 9:54 pm

    Here's a link to the video on YouTube:

  2. Guy said,

    May 5, 2016 @ 1:07 am

    I feel like someone is going to have to post the obligatory link to the Simpsons. Though I'm not sure whether this qualifies as what is later referred to in that episode as the "liminal" or "superliminal" prongs of the three-part strategy that also includes subliminal messaging.

  3. ohwilleke said,

    May 5, 2016 @ 4:35 am

    The PLA bravely filling the gap of music that isn't quite rap and isn't quite death metal.

  4. William Locke said,

    May 5, 2016 @ 11:58 am

    I can't follow a lot of the faster lyrics, but I notice the last line of the opening has been altered. While the printed lyrics are 战争随时爆发,我们随时准备着 (War can break out at any time, we're always prepared!), the announcer asks his audience 战争随时爆发,你们准备好了吗 (War can break out at any time, are you prepared!?). Good use of a rhetorical question I suppose.

  5. julie lee said,

    May 5, 2016 @ 9:43 pm

    Thank you, Professor Metcalf, for the video and translation. I have just read the translation and watched the video. I wonder how it compares with recruitment videos of the U.S., which I've never seen. I have looked through a volume of recruitment posters of Allied and Axis powers of the First World War and Second World War. They were collected in a volume of war posters from the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia published by Hoover Institution at Stanford University about 15 years ago. What I found interesting is that the word "Kill" is not found in these posters, Men are not urged to kill but to defend the motherland or fatherland. They are not urged to "Kill, kill, kill" (sha,sha, sha) as in the Chinese People's Liberation Army video.

  6. ajay said,

    May 6, 2016 @ 7:59 am

    "They are not urged to "Kill, kill, kill" (sha,sha, sha) as in the Chinese People's Liberation Army video."

    "Sha! Sha!" was also the battlecry of the Boxer Rising. (Along with "Protect the Qing Dynasty! Exterminate the foreigners!")

  7. julie lee said,

    May 6, 2016 @ 2:13 pm

    The title of the Hoover Institution volume of wartime posters (including recruitment posters):

    "Persuasive Images: Posters of War and Revolution from the Hoover Archives" 1992.

  8. David Marjanović said,

    May 6, 2016 @ 3:38 pm

    This sounds a lot like what Europe sounded like in the last few decades leading up to the first world war.


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