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.


One Response to “Fang Zhimin – Inspiring Awe by Upholding Justice”

  • Maggie Nunn says:

    I think this image is incredibly powerful. The dark colors set the serious mood of the picture and make the man the main focus. It’s interesting that everyone is looking at him as if he is the only one who can uphold justice. The main man appears to just be an average citizen but has even captivated the attention of police officers. What strikes me most about this picture is the absence of red within the picture.

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    February 11th