The Chinese film Children of Troubled Times (dir. Xu Xingzhi), which depicts three Shanghai youths who volunteer to fight on the battlefront of Northeastern China, appeared in 1935 during the anti-Japanese war (1931-1945). The film’s theme song, “March of the Volunteers,” became both a collective rallying cry for Chinese nationalists and an internationally recognized symbol. This paper explores the creation and circulation of the song in relation to internationalism and anti-colonialism. Promoted by the leftist African-American singer, actor, and social activist Paul Robeson (1898-1976), who recorded the song in Chinese (1941) and popularized it globally, “March of the Volunteers” transcended boundaries between different media, languages and nations. Drawing on Robeson’s notion of musical “pentatonic democracy” and the scholarship of Robeson Taj Frazier, Richard Jean So and Liang Luo, my paper connects 1930s Chinese leftwing film and musical culture with Robeson’s status as an internationally prominent artistic and political figure. I historicize and contextualize the global dissemination and impact of “March of the Volunteers,” understanding its extreme popularity not only in relation to Chinese nationalism, but also in accordance with 1930s and 1940s anti-imperialist, anti-fascist sentiment and socialist internationalism. Robeson’s music and activism linked China’s fight against Japanese military occupation and political-economic exploitation by Euro-American colonizing forces to similar plights of others. Uniting Chinese, African, Asian, and Latin American peoples in the battle against various forms of fascist and colonial oppression, he stimulated the possibility of metaphoric “pentatonic democracy” and the promotion of anti-colonial liberation and racial equality.