The Young Man with the Coolest Sign in the World

By Yaxue Cao, published: March 12, 2013


黄文勋深圳举牌March 10 was a warm, sunny day in the subtropical, southernmost city of Shenzhen. Twenty past three in the afternoon, a young man named Huang Wenxun (黄文勋) appeared on Huaqiang Road (华强路), wearing a shirt with the print “Rather be dead than live without freedom,” and holding a big sign, the size of 1 X 1.2 meters. It reads, on a blue background of Bright China logo and his name Huang Wenxun (also Huang Zi),

Do not fear!

Overthrow the Chinese Communist Party!

Overthrow the dictatorship!

Long live democracy, freedom, constitutionalism, human rights, and equality!

Build a democratic China!

We are really the masters of the country!

His plan was to walk all the way to the municipal government. People stopped, watched, and followed him. Within minutes though, policemen emerged and surrounded him. One of the police, according to a series of photos taken by a friend that recorded the whole process, looked nervously outward, apparently to observe the street scene for signs of disruption. After some physical contact, Huang Wenxun was in dragged away by the police.

A Shenzhen-based lawyer Fan Biaowen (范标文) said he had learned that Huang Wenxun was being held in Huaqiang North police station (华强北派出所). He had already contacted Huang Wenxun’s lawyer Wang Quanping (王全平), who would be following up on the matter.

Huang Wenxun

Huang Wenxun

Huang Wenxun is 23 years old, originally from Boluo county, Huizhou, Guangzhou province (广东惠州博罗县). After high school, he worked in Guangzhou while taking classes at Sun Yat-sen University. On March 30, 2012, he and five others demonstrated in the street of Guangzhou, holding signs reading “No vote, no future”, “Hu Jintao needs to take the lead to disclose assets.”  He was detained for a month. On February 1, 2013, he was beaten by Shenzhen police while supporting police-turned-dissident Wang Dengchao outside the court where Wang’s second trial was held.


Knowing he would be arrested, Huang Wenxun left a letter to the public, in which he says, “My compatriots, do not fear please. When you witness, or suffer from, injustice, you must stand up and speak out. When good conscience and sense of justice live in you, you are not alone; you are with God, with tens of thousands of fellow citizens. ……The reason I, Huang Zi, am protesting is because I want to let the CCP know this: you cannot intimidate me with white terror anymore, and your jails can no longer imprison my beliefs. My compatriots, I know for sure that we will all eventually overcome our fear, because we love our homes, our loved ones, our children, and we want to bring security to those we love and the homes we live in. It is my deepest belief that love will give us courage, the courage to overcome fear!”

He continues, “… A few days ago, my friend Zhao Haitong told me when we were protesting in front of Tencent: “We want to tell our fellow Chinese how to cure our fear by taking actions.”

On the same day, another young man named Shi Yong (时勇) also demonstrated on the street of Shenzhen. He wore three signs questioning Shen Jilan (申纪兰), a people’s representative for over sixty years from Shanxi province, and calling for officials to disclose their assets. He too was arrested.

Huang Wenxun and Shi Yong are among the small number of Chinese who are taking actions. This blog will bring the latest development about them to our readers. I thought as I wrote this post: Huang Wenxun is 23 years old, born right around 1989, and of the same age as those in the Tian’anmen Square 23 years ago. Another generation has grown up from the ashes of the ’89 era, yet China is still not free. The least we can do is to stand with him, make sure that the Chinese government does not succeed in throwing him in jail and that he and his friends are free to speak their mind. If the Party does not like their messages, then it’s time for the Party to change, or face the masses.



14 responses to “The Young Man with the Coolest Sign in the World”

  1. “When good conscience and sense of justice live in you, you are not alone; you are with God, with tens of thousands of fellow citizens. ……”
    If Jesus makes you free, then you are free indeed. He suffered indignityso we might know dignity ouselves. Because He comesinto our hesrts

  2. erac says:

    Please try to keep religion, or proselitizing out of this valiant struggle. That might confuse the issue.That being said, thank you for supporting this man’s and other courageous people around China that wish to rise up and change their country for the better.

  3. Yaxue Cao says:

    When a Chinese uses the word “God”, he or she is more likely than not referring to a higher order, a pious feeling, not the god of a specific religion.

  4. […] resembles the mild-mannered professor he once was. But it is people like Liu — and this young man – whose experience best exemplify the plight of political opposition in China. Ai Weiwei, […]

  5. Yaxue Cao says:

    An update on Huang Wenxun: It’s been nine days since his detention on March 10. The authorities have not revealed where he’s detained, and whether it is criminal, or administrative, detention. In any case, he’s been extralegally detained without being charged for now. His lawyer has stepped in.

  6. […] appearance resembles the mild-mannered professor he once was. But it is people like Liu — and this young man — whose experience best exemplify the plight of political opposition in China. Ai Weiwei, for […]

  7. Yaxue Cao says:

    惠州网友从黄文勋父亲处得知:“黄文勋关在深圳华强北派出所,律师想见、官府不让见。”律师分析:关在派出所属于治安拘留、不是刑事拘留,最多15天,也就是25号放人。不过人治社会是不按法律来的,25号不放也未可知。律师会等到25号,根据官府动态,再做打算。v/ @秀才江湖

    Netizens learned from Huang Wenxun’s father: “Huang Wenxun is currently held in Huaqiang Bei police station. His lawyer requested to meet him, but was denied.” The lawyer said that, custody in police station indicates that Huang is being given administrative detention, as opposed to criminal detention. The limit for administrative detention is 15 days, and he should be released on the 25th. But since China doesn’t have rule of law, we cannot be sure that he will be released on the 25th. The lawyer will wait until the 25th to make plans according to what the government does,

  8. Yaxue Cao says:

    Great news confirmed by at least two people: Huang Wenxun 黄文勋 is freed after being detained for 12 days.

  9. […] Wenxun, a 23-year-old from Guangdong who we reported on earlier in our post, “The Young Man with the Coolest Sign,” started his “Bright China Tour” in April. He had travelled across Jiangxi and Jiangsu […]

  10. […] The Young Man with the Coolest Sign in the World […]

  11. […] 1989 are now being locked up in jail, or punished, for fighting the same battle. For example, Huang Wenxun (黄文勋) was born in 1990 and has been detained, now pending trial, during his “Bright […]

  12. […] 不过这个男孩子把我吓了一跳。2013年3月10日,也就是中国的伪人大在北京召开一年一度会议期间,在深圳,黄文勋举着一块足有一平方米巨大牌子走上了人流熙攘的大街: […]

  13. […] Party’s annual ‘Two Sessions’ (两会), Huang Wenxun took to the street in Shenzhen, holding an enormous placard […]

  14. […] of Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜), Wang Qingying (王清营), Wang Zang (王藏), Huang Wenxun (黄文勋), Chen Yunfei (陈云飞), Huang Qi (黄琦), and […]

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