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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.