The Founding of a Republic

The Founding of a Republic is a 2009 Chinese historical film commissioned by China's film regulator and made by the state-owned China Film Group (CFG) to mark the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. The film was co-directed by the fifth-generation director Huang Jianxin and the chairman of China Film Group Han Sanping. Han's role in the Chinese film circle legitimizes of the significance of The Founding as a mainstream film blockbuster[3] The timing of the production and release of The Founding was a cultural signifier of the emergence of China in the Global arena (Xu 2009:49). The film has a propaganda utility, and is responsible for enhancing cohesion among Chinese citizens.[4] A group of seemingly ‘haphazard’ and ‘coincidental’ elements and features of the film exhibit the timely and mindful updates of the propaganda devices by the CCP government in order to catch up with the overriding fashion of commercialization in the cultural-media sphere of present-day China.[5]

The Founding of a Republic
The Founding of a Republic - poster.jpg
Film poster
MandarinJiàngúo Dà Yè
CantoneseGin3 gwok3 Daai6 Jip6
Directed byHuang Jianxin
Han Sanping
Produced byHuang Jianxin
Han Sanping
Written byChen Baoguang
Wang Xingdong
StarringTang Guoqiang
Zhang Guoli
Xu Qing
Liu Jing
Chen Kun
Wang Wufu
Music byShu Nan
CinematographyZhao Xiaoshi
Edited byXu Hongyu
China Film Group
Shanghai Film Studio
Media Asia Films
Emperor Motion Pictures
Universe Entertainment
Polybona Films
China Movie Channel
Beijing Guoli Changsheng Movies & TV Productions
Beijing Hualu Baina Film & TV Production
Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation
DMG Entertainment
Beijing Xinbaoyuan Movie & TV Investment
Distributed byChina Film Group
Beijing Polybona Film Distribution (China)
Universe Films Distribution (Hong Kong)
Release date
  • 16 September 2009 (2009-09-16)
Running time
138 minutes
Budget$8.8–$10 million
Box office$62.5 million[1][2]

The film premiered at 2 pm, September 16, 2009, in mainland China. The film was produced with the backing of the Communist Party, but in response to some reactions outside Mainland China, Huang Jianxin, the film's co-director, "has said it was unfair to describe The Founding of a Republic as propaganda since modern Chinese audience was too sophisticated to swallow a simplistic rendering of history."[6] While the government of the Republic of China in Taiwan has asserted that it has no plans to actively censor the film, it has yet to be released because Taiwan's 2009 annual quota of 10 mainland films was already reached.[7]

The film retells the tale of the Communist ascendancy and triumph, and has a star-studded cast including Andy Lau, Ge You, Hu Jun, Leon Lai, Zhang Ziyi, Donnie Yen, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Zhao Wei, and directors Jiang Wen, Chen Kaige and John Woo, many of whom make brief cameo appearances. The leading roles are played by actors equally renowned in China, such as Tang Guoqiang and Zhang Guoli. A CFG spokesman said many stars answered Han Sanping's call to appear in the film and waived their fee. Thus, the movie kept to its modest budget of 60–70  million yuan (US$8.8–$10 million). According to the executive at one of China's top multiplex chains, the film unusually marries "the core of an 'ethically inspiring' film with commercial packaging."[8]This is the first zhuxuanlu film to work solely with cinematic audio-visual methods to achieve its political and ideological goals. It is a milestone in that since its production in 2009, the distinction between zhuxuanlu and commercial film has become blurred; they have become largely indistinguishable from each other.[9]


In 1945 after the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War, Mao Zedong and members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) travel to Chongqing for a meeting with Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang (KMT). With help from the China Democratic League, the Double Tenth Agreement is signed between the KMT and CPC, with both sides agreeing to stop the civil war and to establish a multi-party government in China.

The following year, Chiang Kai-shek calls for a National Assembly in Nanjing and is elected as President of the Republic of China (ROC). At the same time, the peace negotiations between the CPC and KMT fail and the civil war continues. Other political figures such as Zhang Lan, Soong Ching-ling and Li Jishen, support the CPC because they oppose Chiang's government, even though they are in non-battleground areas such as Shanghai and Hong Kong.

In May 1948, the CPC declares the opening of a "War of Liberation" against Chiang's ROC government, with many other political parties responding to the call and taking the CPC's side. The Red Army scores victories against the NRA in subsequent battles and eventually Chiang's forces retreat to Taiwan in December 1949. On 1 October 1949, Mao Zedong proclaims the People's Republic of China with its capital at Beijing, marking the start of a new era for China.


Main figuresEdit

Actor Role Description
Tang Guoqiang Mao Zedong Chairman of the Communist Party of China (CPC), later Chairman of the PRC Central People's Government
Zhang Guoli Chiang Kai-shek President of the Republic of China (ROC), Director-General of the Kuomintang (KMT)
Xu Qing Soong Ching-ling Sun Yat-sen's wife; later Vice President of the People's Republic of China (PRC)
Liu Jing Zhou Enlai Vice Chairman of the CPC, later Premier of the PRC
Chen Kun Chiang Ching-kuo Chiang Kai-shek's son; Youth League of the Three People's Principles leader, later President of the ROC
Wang Wufu Zhu De Commander-in-chief of the Red Army, later Vice Chairman of the PRC
Wang Xueqi Li Zongren Vice President of the ROC
Liu Sha Liu Shaoqi CPC Central Committee secretary, later President of the PRC
Wang Jian Ren Bishi CPC Central Committee secretary
Jin Xin Li Jishen NRA general, later Vice Chairman of the PRC
Wang Bing Zhang Lan Chairman of the China Democratic League, later Vice Chairman of the PRC
Vivian Wu Soong Mei-ling Chiang Kai-shek's wife and Soong Ching-ling's sister; later First Lady of the ROC
Xiu Zongdi Fu Zuoyi Chairman of Chahar government, later PRC Water Resources Minister

Chinese Communist Party figuresEdit

Actor Role Description
Huang Wei Deng Yingchao Zhou Enlai's wife; later CPPCC Chairwoman
Shi Xin Deng Xiaoping CPC Central Committee secretary, later Chairman of the CMC
Zong Liqun Peng Dehuai Second-in-command of the Red Army, later Vice Chairman of the CMC
You Liping Lin Biao Red Army general, later Vice Chairman of the PRC
Che Xiaotong Liu Bocheng Red Army general, later Marshal of the PLA
Zhao Yong He Long Red Army general, later Marshal of the PLA and Vice Premier of the PRC
Gu Wei Chen Yi Red Army general, later Foreign Minister of the PRC
Sun Jitang Luo Ronghuan Red Army general, later Marshal of the PLA
Wang Jun Xu Xiangqian Red Army general, later Marshal of the PLA
Ao Yang Nie Rongzhen Red Army general, later Marshal of the PLA
Ye Jin Ye Jianying Red Army general, later Vice Chairman of the CPC Central Committee
Hou Yong Chen Geng Red Army general
Zhao Ningyu Liu Yalou Red Army general
Zhang Erdan Jiang Qing Mao Zedong's wife
Xie Gang Gao Gang Vice Chairman of the CPC Central Committee, later Vice Chairman of the State Planning Commission
Wang Huaying Pan Hannian CPC politician, later Deputy Mayor of Shanghai
Huang Xiaoming Li Yinqiao Mao Zedong's chief bodyguard
Ma Yue Yan Changling Mao Zedong's chief bodyguard
Donnie Yen Tian Han Lyricist for March of the Volunteers, later member of the PRC Culture Ministry
Xu Fan Liao Mengxing Liao Zhongkai and He Xiangning's daughter; Soong Ching-ling's secretary, later member of the All-China Women's Federation
Chen Hao Fu Dongju Fu Zuoyi's daughter; People's Daily reporter
Chen Daoming Yan Jinwen Deputy leader of Shanghai Investigative Branch of State Secrets Department
Zhang Ziyi Gong Peng PRC Foreign Affairs Ministry official

Kuomintang figuresEdit

Actor Role Description
Leon Lai Cai Tingkai NRA general, later CPC member
Chen Kaige Feng Yuxiang Chiang Kai-shek's sworn brother, NRA general, Vice President of National Military Council
Jiang Wen Mao Renfeng Head of BIS
Hu Jun Gu Zhutong Commander-in-chief of NRA; later Chief of staff of NRA
Andy Lau Yu Jishi NRA general
Chen Baoguo Zhou Zhirou NRA Air Force general
Jet Li Chen Shaokuan NRA Navy admiral, later NPC member
Xiao Wenge He Yingqin NRA general
You Yong Bai Chongxi NRA general
Li Qiang Chen Cheng NRA general, later Vice President of the ROC
Yang Xiaodan Zhang Zhizhong NRA general, later CPC member
Tong Dawei Kong Lingkan Kung Hsiang-hsi and Soong Ai-ling's son
Cao Kefan Wu Kuo-chen Mayor of Shanghai, later Governor of Taiwan Province
Zhong Xinghuo Huang Shaoxiong Vice President of Control Yuan, later NPC member
Xia Gang Shao Lizi NRA secretary, later NPC member
Ding Zhicheng Lu Guangsheng BIS agent
Tao Zeru Wu Tiecheng Vice President of Legislative Yuan, later Senior Advisor to the Office of the President of the ROC
Xu Huanshan Yu Youren President of Control Yuan
Zhao Xiaoshi Sun Fo Sun Yat-sen's son; President of Legislative Yuan
Sun Xing Du Yuming NRA general
Lin Dongfu Gan Jiehou Li Zongren's private secretariat representative
Ye Xiaojian Dai Jitao President of Examination Yuan
Zhang Hanyu Liu Congwen

China Democratic League figuresEdit

Actor Role Description
Ge Cunzhuang Tan Pingshan KMT Revolutionary Committee member
Zhang Shizhong Shen Junru CDL member, later President of the PRC Supreme People's Court
Bi Yanjun Luo Longji CDL member, later CPC member
Wu Gang Wen Yiduo Poet, CDL member
Qiao Lisheng Guo Moruo Author, poet, historian, archaeologist; later President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Deng Chao Xu Beihong Artist, later President of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts
Li Bin He Xiangning Artist, CDL member, later CPC member
Zhang Qiufang Li Dequan Feng Yuxiang's wife; member of the KMT Revolutionary Committee, later PRC Health Minister
Liu Yiwei Li Huang Chinese Youth Party founder

Other notable historical figuresEdit

Actor Role Description
Feng Xiaogang Du Yuesheng Shanghai Green Gang boss
John Woo Liu Wenhui Sichuan warlord
Feng Yuanzheng Philip Fugh John Leighton Stuart's personal assistant

Foreign political figuresEdit

Actor Role Description
Aleksandr Pavlov Joseph Stalin Soviet Union leader
Donald Eugene McCoy George Marshall United States military leader, later Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense
Donald Freeman Patrick J. Hurley United States Ambassador to China
Leslin H Collings John Leighton Stuart United States Ambassador to China, President of Yenching University

Fictional charactersEdit

Actor Role
Sun Honglei Hu Liwei, Central Daily News reporter
Fan Wei Guo Bencai, Mao Zedong's cook
Liu Ye Red Army old soldier
Ge You Red Army Fourth Division leader
Wang Baoqiang Red Army Fourth Division soldiers
Wang Xuebing
Eva Huang Xinhua News Agency broadcaster
Jackie Chan Reporter interviewing Li Jishen
Chen Hong Reporter interviewing Zhang Lan
Li Youbin Newspaper agency head
Zhang Jianya Chiang Kai-shek's deputy
Lian Jin Zhou Zhirou's deputy
Sun Xing Yu Jishi's deputy
Guo Xiaodong NRA officer
Liu Ye KMT police officers
Huang Zixuan
Guo Degang Cameraman
Zhang Shen Translator accompanying Liu Shaoqi to the Soviet Union
Gong Beibi Red Army female soldiers
He Lin
Yang Ruoxi
Che Yongli
Tony Leung Ka-fai CPPCC members
Feng Gong
Zhao Wei
Miao Pu
Dong Xuan
Chen Shu
Ning Jing
Shen Aojun
Wang Yajie
Zhao Baoyue
Wang Fuli

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ (in Chinese) 2009 Yearly Box Office Ranking for Mainland China
  2. ^ Total Gross: The Founding of a Republic (excluding Mainland China)
  3. ^ Cai, Shenshen. “An unconventional mainstream film: The Founding of a Republic.” Asian Cinema, vol. 25, no. 2, October 2014, pp.183–203., doi: 10.1386/ac.25.2.183_1
  4. ^ Cai, Shenshen. “An unconventional mainstream film: The Founding of a Republic.” Asian Cinema, vol. 25, no. 2, October 2014, pp.183–203., doi: 10.1386/ac.25.2.183_1
  5. ^ Cai, Shenshen. “An unconventional mainstream film: The Founding of a Republic.” Asian Cinema, vol. 25, no. 2, October 2014, pp.183–203., doi: 10.1386/ac.25.2.183_1
  6. ^ Foster, Peter (17 September 2009). "Epic film The Founding of a Republic marks 60 years of Chinese Communism". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  7. ^ "Taiwan Says it won't censor China propaganda film". Retrieved 28 September 2009.
  8. ^ Lee, Min (3 September 2009). "China injects star power into anniversary film".
  9. ^ Wolte, I. (2018). Persuasive communication in Chinese historical film - The Founding of a Republic as a milestone. In H.-y. Peng (Ed.), & E. Raidel (Ed.), The Politics of Memory in Sinophone Cinemas and Image Culture - Alternative Archives (pp. 32-45). London: Routledge

External linksEdit