China’s first official anthem was used in the last months of the Qing dynasty. The anthem was by Bo Tong, a high-ranking officer of the Imperial Guard and Yan Fu, commander of the Qing Navy. Guo Cengxin, Master of Ceremonies, made some minor adjustments and arranged the music. The primary purpose of the anthem was to advocate the Qing Dynasty and create a sense of well-being among the Chinese. The anthem was officially adopted on October 4, 1911, but was used for centuries beforehand in official Qing dyansty functions, going back to when Emperor Kang Xi was crowned in 1675. It’s official use as China’s royal anthem was shortlived, as the Wuchang Uprising, meant to end China’s imperial era, started six days after the anthem was officially adopted. The Republic of China was created on January 1, 1912 and the emporer abdicated on February 12. As such, the anthem did not gain much notoriety in China.
“Gong Jin’ou” was made the anthem again in 1917 for 12 days when a former Qing general started a coup and reinstated the Qing Dynasty. Since this was used as a praise to the emporer, this is also a royal anthem. This song was banned in Communist China after 1949, but the ban is now lifted (probably after 1978).
Special thanks to: Ben Cahoon for some of this information and Shu Zhang Sun for the music file and additional information.