The Red Army Orchestra Internet Meme: Collection Of Parodies

Red Army Orchestra.

In the middle of June of this year, a video was uploaded to the Chinese internet in which the video from a Red Army Orchestra performance was synced to “Waving Flag”, the song by K’naan used by Coca Cola for promoting this year’s World Cup Championship. While this juxtaposition of old and new and East and West proved novel, it wasn’t until the beginning of July when this internet meme went internet-supernova when the same footage of the Red Army Orchestra was synced to Michael Jackson‘s “Beat It”.

While the syncing of “Waving Flag” was done well this “Beat It” version was far superior, showing an understanding of musical syncopation, call and response, instrument textures and layering, and even a smoking electric erhu solo by a Chinese Red Army version of Eddie Van Halen. Furthermore, while “Waving Flag” is a song about current events and world harmony, “Beat It” features the recently passed and thus universally acclaimed King of Pop at the zenith of his cool and idolatry; this would give this internet meme a dangerous, attractive quality for while comparing the Red Army to the World Cup and its themes of global harmony and friendly competition is mostly benign, comparing the Red Army to a black man, even the most famous, one-gloved black entertainer of all time could be attracting the attention of “harmonizing” censors.

However, despite the worry some netizens expressed, this internet meme took off. Besides enjoying great popularity like all internet memes, this one has attracted many knock-offs and other variations, from current Western Top 40 hits (“Hey Oh” and “Tik Tok”) to rather obscure versions (the 90’s “Who Let the Dogs Out?” and “The Diva Dance” from “The Fifth Element”) to current Chinese Top 40 hits (Jay Zhou). This list of “Red Army Orchestra” internet memes concludes with the most inspired and best versions of this internet meme, ranging from theme songs from cartoon shows that emphasize the ludicrous quality of this satire (“Ultraman” and “Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles”) to a rock anthem that perfectly encapsulates the epic nature of a nation-wide call to arms and unity to chilling effect (Queen’s “We Will Rock You”).

While it appears that the Chinese online community is ready to subvert and displace the political propaganda from a few generations ago, it also appears they are ready to seek out and find culture and significance in this same time period.  Also, it appears that they will have the chance to do that online–this time.

“Waving Flag” (Official Song 2010 FIFA World Cup Championship – K’naan)

Comments from Tudou:


Really fucking joyful! This kind of idiotic art should definitely be made fun of.


Your skill level is very high; laugh my ass off.


Ha ha ha!

“Beat It” – Michael Jackson

Comments from Mop:




The lip syncing is good..




Watching this makes me feel very joyful, for this is very valiant/incredible.


[Just] here to observe.


Godly syncing, the electric erhu at the end was the most niubi


NB lip-syncing!!!!


louzhu, hurry and delete this, otherwise you’re going to be harmonized.


After performing at the World Cup, these brothers [referring to the people shown in the video] also sang MJ’s song, such gods! This post must become popular, [I’m] waiting to see.


Be careful of being harmonized!


Appropriately awesome, those who haven’t seen it are missing out.


The People’s Liberation Army liberate Paris!


Garbage, [is this] respectful to our forebears?


Awesome Chinese people.


Looking for the original…not the “Beat It” version.


Let them go mine coal.


After watching this, the pressure for me to express is great.


Ding, and I don’t need a reason.


The editing is not bad, haha!!! . It’s just not very smooth, [but] this is already really awesome! You must’ve spent a lot of effort upon this! However, there is too much repeat footage, it gives me a headache!


This type of mischief is not good! Don’t joke around with revolutionary themes! Too disrespectful!


Marveling how NB the LZ is while laughing my ass off.


How old is this thing, and you’re not even embarrassed resurrecting it to intimidate people.


I think I’ve seen this before a long time ago.


I laughed until my stomach hurt; I’m worried this will be harmonized.

”Hey Oh” – Pokerface

“Tik Tok” – Ke$ha

“The Diva Dance” – from “The Fifth Element” (1997)

“Who Let the Dogs Out?” – Baha Men

“以父之名” – 周杰伦Jay Zhou

A current Chinese hip hop pop song

“足球小子 (The Football Kid)” – theme song from a cartoon show

“Ultraman” – theme song from a cartoon show

“Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtle” – theme song from a cartoon show

“We Will Rock You” – Queen

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  • Lei Feng

    friggin fantastic…. I wave my flag!

  • That one guy

    First to make a comment saying they are first.

  • dustrabbit

    Yeah, the kids are niubi…..

  • wuwu

    very funny indeed

  • FYIADragoon

    I swear that every Chinese internet meme involving a nationalistic element of China, regardless of how the netizens believe they view it, is secretly done by the government’s internet squad. This is a highly effective method of getting nationalistic ideas, no matter how small, at least into the view of the people who watch these videos, regardless of whether or not they actually respect these ideas.

    Props to the CCP’s soft power.

    • joe


      I suppose you believe in chemtrails as well.

      • FYIADragoon

        I’m referring to the Chinese government towards its own citizens. The easiest way to spread propaganda is to do it a subtle manner. Spreading it through memes allows the Chinese netizens to view it harmlessly which allows for them to be exposed to a variety of it. I never at any time even implicated that this was directed towards any other countries.

        Try to use your brain next time, mkay? Oh nevermind, I’m talking with a /b/tard. 10/10.

        • joe

          >>Implying other countries don’t spread propaganda.

          How do you know your suspicions aren’t merely anti-Chinese propaganda cultivated by your western government?

          OH FUUU–

  • Money

    Brilliant!!! Laugh until nearly on the floor rolling.

    Haven’t seen something like it since!

  • Chunghwa

    忍者 by Jay Chou is probably the best of the orchestra meme videos.

  • Alikese

    It’s truly sad that they are disrespecting the Communist propaganda songs that they’ve been passing down for 5000 years.

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  • joe

    anyone have a link to the original red army video?

  • asdaf

    haha these videos are hilarious, glad they’re mocking the red army

  • Jiang

    The old PLA singers are turning in their grave.
    What form of parody is this?
    Treasure not what they have contributed?

  • theo

    Just a small fyi, Wavin’ Flag was not the official FIFA WC 2010 song, that was ‘Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)’ by Shakira and Freshlyground. Wavin’ Flag was the promotional song for Coca-Cola during the World Cup. Though it’s both a better song and was heard more often during the cup.

    • 谢谢你的纠正,同志。Point taken and correction made. I watched the first couple of rounds and then got bored once everybody started getting cut. Also, those Chinese-made vuvuzelas were really annoying.

      Who won, anyways?

      • Yeah, who did win? I was thinking about that last night…

  • Jake03

    offtopic question: Why isn’t there an stop button on these videos? Seems very strange to me.

  • joe

    What is the original video? I would like to know what they were originally singing!!!

  • redinou

    funny Hey oh its not pokerface lol but its “tragedie” a really stupid and bad french song ^^

    • thanks for the correction, the video was titled as such as so I internet-naively just assumed it was true.

      The band’s name is “La Tragedie”? C’est dommage…

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  • I love red ants :p

  • ard

    heheheeee… zhe ge shi hen hao !!!

  • Superoo

    Hahahah… awesome!

    Thought it was pretty funny but quite repetative, then i got to the “teenage mutant ninja turtles” theme and almost pissed myself laughing. People that are offended by it, make me laugh even harder. Still laughing….

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  • b kresle

    Where did you get the original footage? Can you post it without re-editing so people can compare?

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  • Sunni

    Showed this to my dad.
    Had a pretty good laugh.

    Fucking brilliant.

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