Days without Cigarettes

a poem written by Wang Dan, the Chinese student movement leader
a song translated and sung by Chang Yu-sheng, the Taiwanese singer
a way Yu-sheng showed his support for Wang Dan at June 4 Tianan’ Square Movement, 1989


Backstage stories

It was June 1989 when Tiananmen Square, China had groups of students protested authoritarian Chinese government, the restrictions on freedom that the movement leader, Wang Dan, was  captured and imprisoned. The Taiwanese country rock singer, Chang Yu-sheng, couldn’t sleep at night since he had heard of the imprisonment of his friend, Dan.  He wondered what he could do for his friend and for the movement.  He read Dan’s poem, Days without Cigarettes, which he wrote in prison, on newspapers.  He was immediately moved. He could relate to that sentiment of doing the right thing and as a result cost the price of physical freedom.

He translated the poem into a song with the same title, Days without Cigarettes, then promised Dan that he would give him the money earned through the release of the song.   Four years later in 1993, Yu-sheng made it to visit Dan in Beijin.  Dan was released by then.  At his visit, Yu-sheng gave Dan the money he had promised.  Dan was appreciative.  Giving money was what Yu-sheng could do to help out paying for all practical things, especially at a political movement, financial aids were always the first crucial and cruel thing that got involved.

Days without Cigarettes

the days you lost your freedom to the fights for freedom,
the days you had no contacts to the outside world,
the days you had to believe
you had done the right thing
for yourself with those who fought for the same freedom
even at the cost of freedom price.

It’s the days you couldn’t have cigarettes.


Dan is now a free man residing outside China.  He remains a freedom activist and speaks out in the Internet world and places that are safe for him.

Yu-sheng, unfortunately, has passed in a car crash years ago. His fans remember him till this day especially for June 4 being remembered honorably.

With the friendships that Dan and Yu-sheng have had, it’s a good model for the peoples in these two nations to see how they can work to obtain freedom and liberty while maintaining their boundaries and sovereignty respectively.


This is NOT the age for occupying or swallowing any nation.

This IS the age for respecting

boundaries, sovereignty, identity, humanities and humanitarian senses.

What matters is how a nation sees itself, thinks itself, treats itself,

respects itself and honors itself.