Archive for February, 2014

Fang Zhimin – Inspiring Awe by Upholding Justice

Inspiring Awe by Upholding Justice - 1976

Inspiring Awe by Upholding Justice – 1976

Fig. 1. Designer: Cai Chao (蔡超). “Inspiring Awe by Upholding Justice.” January 1976, Poster. Writing: Inspiring awe by upholding justice; Dayi linran (大义凛然). Call nr.: BG E15/9 (Landsberger collection). Available from:, (Accessed February 11, 2014).

This poster depicts Fang Zhimin standing on top of an automobile with his wrists and ankles in chain cuffs. Fang Zhimin has his right arm raised with an open hand facing the crowd of people that are gathered around the automobile that he is standing on. While his left arm is bent slightly back, at say maybe a 90 degree angle (This can be a contested measurement, I am not a mathematician, nor am I someone who is good at geometry). Fang Zhimin’s stance is upright and strong, his feet are positioned to form an almost “L”, maybe a “V”. There are two people directly at the automobile facing Fang Zhimin, and two others that appear to be keeping the crowd at a distance. Judging by the hats and uniform of these people I’m guessing that they are some kind of aw enforcement officers. The other members of the crowd is wearing clothes that brings the word working class to mind. The faces of the law enforcers is one of awe, while the other members of the crowd look very serious, and inspired, as if looking off into the future.

Further, Fang Zhimin’s face is one that shows a very serious, and more anger than inspiration. His face combined with the position of his arms, give me the impression that if he was speaking he would be saying “Stop.” Fang Zhimin’s clothes are plain, grey shirt with black pants type bottoms. However, the collar of Fang Zhimin’s shirt is very soviet-communist inspired. That is, his collar is a vibrant red, straight and sharp. Fang Zhimin is also wearing a brown overcoat.

The colors are dark, and grungy at the bottom of the poster, as you move up the poster though the colors seem to gradually brighten, there is still a dark undertone but compared to the bottom of the poster it is noticeably brighter. Also interesting to note is that viewers are only really shown the face of one of the law enforcement people, yet it seems the artist wanted to make sure that as many of the people in the crowd had their facial expression showing. The colors and the detail distribution would lead me to believe that this picture is anti-nationalist (considering that Fang Zhimin fought nationalist oppression), and the gradual increase of brightness could signify hope in communism but only if everyone come together against the Nationalists (hence the recognition of the vast majority of the crowd’s face).

Although the page where I found this poster at does not give any direct insight for this specific poster there is an excerpt at the bottom of the page that gives some info:

Fang was arrested by the Nationalists in January 1935. Although they tortured him, and tried to lure him into surrender, he ‘inspired awe by upholding justice’ and proved that he was a true Communist hero. Even while in prison, he wrote important theoretical contributions.

Fang Zhimin died in 1935 but his image was used by the CCP for many years, and has been honored as late as 1999 by the CCP. For opposing the Nationalists Fang Zhimin was made a model (in the positive way, not the bad way) and used as a communist icon.




February 11th


Education in China

I found the webpage for the organization, OECD,  that administers the Pisa. Here are a few tidbits from their website that give a little insight to what the Pisa is:

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial international survey which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students. To date, students representing more than 70 economies have participated in the assessment.

PISA is unique because it develops tests which are not directly linked to the school curriculum. The tests are designed to assess to what extent students at the end of compulsory education, can apply their knowledge to real-life situations and be equipped for full participation in society. The information collected through background questionnaires also provides context which can help analysts interpret the results.

The “About Pisa” page on the site:

This is OECD’s webpage that reports the 2012 results of each participating country:

This is the BBC article that I had showed in class on Friday, where an Education expert from OECD calls Shanghai’s results ‘mind boggling’:

And this is the article from the Guardian that I pulled up in class that had the lovely graph:



February 8th


The “New Citizens’ Movement”, or Social History in the Making

I love how the research paper is so open and free, and yet it has put me in a very tight situation. I have been very fascinated in the art and hip-hop culture of China and would be interested in looking at its progression since inception with a sociological / psychological lens. And this was going to be my article without a doubt originally…

Then I discovered this gem…

Xu Zhiyong; Photo provided by Greg Baker/AP

Xu Zhiyong (许志永) – Photo provided by Greg Baker/AP

I was not aware of this phenomena going on in China actually, and the more I read the more I become interested in following this movement and making this my research topic, well not it by itself but also drawing comparisons to past Movements and their successes/failures.

To bring anyone who is not aware (and hopefully I am not only on just finding out about this!) up to speed here is the article, The New Citizens’ Movement, translated into English and written by the man pictured above, Xu Zhiyong.

The first paragraph of the article gives a good intro to what the Movement is.

China needs a new citizens’ movement. This movement is a political movement in which this ancient nation bids utter farewell to authoritarianism and completes the civilized transformation to constitutional governance; it is a social movement to completely destroy the privileges of corruption, the abuse of power, the gap between rich and poor, and to construct a new order of fairness and justice; it is a cultural movement to bid farewell to the culture of autocrats and subjects and instead create a new nationalist spirit; it is the peaceful progressive movement to herald humanity’s process of civilizing.

Since this article so much has transpired related to The New Citizens Movement, thankfully China Change has compiled all of the articles they have related to the movement (Movement Compilation).

As with all great movements though, it is always interesting (and in my opinion helpful) to start by looking at the history of the leader, or the one who started it all. My concern however, is that I wont be able to find much due to Chinese censorship. Curious though, what is you all’s impression of the New Citizens’ Movement? Do you think that it will accomplish ALL of it’s goals or just some?



February 6th

February 2014