Wang Jixian, Chinese Vlogger in Ukraine: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

wang jixian

Instagram Wang Jixian.

Wang Jixian is a Chinese software engineer turned citizen journalist who has been posting video updates on the war in Ukraine from Odessa. He moved to the city in 2022 from Beijing. Wang has gained a following in China and elsewhere telling the story of the war from on the ground in the port city of just under 1 million people on the Black Sea in southern Ukraine. Wang shares his story on WeChat, Instagram and on a YouTube vlog, where he has thousands of subscribers.

Here’s what you need to know about Wang Jixian:


1. Wang Said He Decided to Stay in Ukraine, While Most of the About 6,000 Chinese Citizens Living in the Country Fled, Because ‘I Didn’t Want to Abandon My Colleagues … This Is Where I Live & This Is My Home’


北京人「王吉贤」 #北京人在乌克兰 战争遗言。🙏2022-03-02T15:37:19Z

Jixian Wang, 37, who had been living in Macedonia since 2015, moved to Ukraine in January 2022, just months before the Russian invasion of the country, according to his Facebook page. According to The Wall Street Journal, most of the about 6,000 Chinese citizens who were living in Ukraine at the time left the country when Russia attacked in February. But Wang decided to stay in his new home and began posting video updates on social media to inform people in his native country and around the world about what was happening.

According to ChinaFile, Wang told Voice of America, “I didn’t want to abandon my colleagues, damn it: I want to be a decent human being. I’m a legal resident here; this is where I live and this is my home. . . I don’t want to see people sacrifice themselves or die. That’s why I stayed.”

Wang uploaded his last will and testament to social media and gave a tearful goodbye to family and friends in case anything happened to him, according to ChinaFile. He said in a February video, “What good does it do you if all that is left is rubble and corpses. This will be my last will. Keep it on your phones. After all this is over it’ll be proof that people like me existed. Remember, we weren’t wimps.”


2. Wang Is the Chief Technical Officer at the U.S.-Based Software Company RegDesk

Wang moved to Odessa for a work project, he told Voice of America. According to his LinkedIn profile, Wang is the chief technical officer for RegDesk, a Philadelphia-based company that makes software for medical devices and the healthcare industry. He has worked as RegDesk’s CTO since 2017, according to an announcement from the company.

Priya Bhutani, CEO and founder of RegDesk, said in a statement when Wang took over the role, “Jixian is a problem solver and a technologist at heart. He has a track record of creating successful technology-based B2B solutions. As we continue to optimize our technology at RegDesk, we needed leadership talent with deep understanding and experience in data science and machine learning to take our company to the next level. Jixian is a great addition to our leadership team.”

Wang said in a statement, “As an engineer, I have a keen eye for the next space that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can strengthen. At RegDesk, I see just that, not to mention an open culture and a team that truly believes in leveraging the power of networks. I envision a technology that will take RegDesk to a new level.” According to the press release, “RegDesk CTO coding prowess includes Javascript, Node.js, Python and UNIX/C/C++ as well as experience as an iOS developer. Check out some of his work at https://github.com/openbiz.”


3. Wang Co-Founded Openbiz Technology After Studying at Beijing Union University


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According to his Facebook page, Wang, who is single, is originally from Beijing, and studied at Beijing Union University. He was the co-founder of Openbiz, according to his LinkedIn profile. He wrote on LinkedIn that he, “Cofounded Openbiz (open source) project, it`s providing a php application framework for rapid building enterprise web based applications. … The project has been used by 3rd party companies, to make solutions for China Mobile, China Commerce Bank, The National bank of Kenya etc.”

Wang then worked at Pickatale, rising up the ranks to CTO. He wrote on LinkedIn, “That actually is my first job after I sold my first company. Its might just like today, I started from a senior developer position until being promoted to CTO. Because of I’ve been used to for myself, so my standard is always the highest when we making a product, I treat the produce and code like my baby, so every detail has to be as perfect as possible. I think that’s how I’ve been trusted and promoted.” He has also worked for Shenzhen Xixi Network Technology Limited and ShadowGrid OpenBiz Technology, according to his LinkedIn.

He wrote about himself on LinkedIn, “Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in Cocos2d, PHP, WordPress, FreeBSD, and Backbone.js. Strong business development professional. Recently I was fully focused on research a new self aware AI algorithm. that could be used on financial trading strategies. 15 years’ experience developer, Passion & creative, Tireless founder, Perfection Maker.”


4. Wang Has Pushed Back at Chinese Viewers Who Have Criticized Him for Supporting Ukraine in Its Battle Against Russian Invaders


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Wang has used his platform and on-the-ground view to try to show people in China why he thinks they should be supporting the Ukrainian people and not Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to ChinaFile, he told VOA, “I’m dealing with a war on two fronts. The battlefield I’m faced with here is terrifying, but at least I can see the tanks; they are something that is tangible and I can avoid them. But the other battlefield lurking behind me is even scarier: damn it, although I know it’s there I can’t see it. I don’t know who’s in it, but they’re all telling me that they want me dead.”

ChinaFile’s Geremie Barme wrote, “For more than two weeks, Wang has in effect been recording an audio-visual conversation with China. In it, he describes his circumstances, his hopes and fears, the on-the-ground sense of what is happening in a fabled coastal city that is increasingly under military pressure from a pitiless invader. He talks about his work, his loves, his neighbors, and his colleagues. Wang’s posts are unaffected; he addresses his viewers directly, and he responds to online comments he has read and chats with his invisible audience. His monologues are factual—the weather, the atmosphere in the city, shopping—by turns phlegmatic, engaging, humorous, angry, sometimes tearful, always compelling.

Barme added, “Wang speaks in the mild cadences and with the understated demeanor of someone born and raised in Beijing. It is the kind of clear and unaffected voice with which anyone who has come to understand the hopes and fears of Chinese people, and empathized with the complex realities of that country, will be familiar. Although the vlog reports that Wang Jixian posts are recorded in Odessa, he is speaking from a place I call “‘The Other China.'”

In a March video, according to a ChinaFile translation, Wang said, “I’m Jixian and I live in Ukraine. Who are you? What are you afraid of? Why are you so scared of my being able to speak? I do not utter any threats; I don’t advocate murder. All I do is make a plea for people to respect life and end this war. Why are you so afraid of people knowing what’s really going on? We don’t have nuclear weapons; we don’t have any guns. Why do you only want the voices that advocate murder to be heard? Why is it that you only want me to say: ‘I’m here. I’m afraid. Save me, please!’ Why do you only let voices that spread fear get posted? We here are determined, peace-loving, and on the side of justice.”

According to NPR, Wang has received some death threats over his vlogging. Wang told the Los Angeles Times, “If they curse me, I can’t stop them. If they come here to kill me, I can’t stop them either.” He told the newspaper he saw mostly pro-Russian voices on Chinese social media, saying, “If I don’t speak up, everyone, Ukrainians will think all Chinese have this view. So I’m saying something different, to tell them there are Chinese people who want to help you, who donate money, who support you.”

Wang told the Wall Street Journal, “I am not leaving because I refuse to accept it. I won’t accept the killing of civilians or the distortion of truth. I refuse.”


5. Wang Has Used His Videos to Show the People in His New City Who Are Suffering Amid the Threat of Russian Attacks, From School Children to Store Owners


3月10日 出去理个发,想换换心情,刚到家又来空袭警报……☹️🇷🇺2022-03-10T13:01:45Z

Wang’s videos from Odessa show him walking around the city’s streets, visiting businesses, showing schoolchildren whose lives have been interrupted by war and calling for his viewers to empathize with the Ukrainian people.

In one March video, Wang said, according to a ChinaFile translation:

It doesn’t matter where I come from; first and foremost I’m a person, someone who respects human life and the right of others to live peaceably. I’m not some coward, none of us are: We’re not afraid; we’re outraged.

There I was going to work every day, enjoying a normal life when, out of nowhere, damn it, missiles started raining down on us. One landed right next to my office building. . . Regardless of what side you support, I hope you’ll stand on the side of life. Everyday people don’t want war. One of my colleagues, a programmer just like me, my lawyer and teachers, have all gone off to join the Ukrainian defense forces. They have responded to the call to mobilize so they can protect their mothers and their children. With their guns, they are not only protecting this country, they are fighting for their homes, homes that they have bought with hard-earned money or that they’ve inherited. Why should they be bombed? It’s just that simple; it’s got nothing to do with NATO. People just want to be able to live their lives.

In an interview with Radio Free Asia, Wang said, “Don’t come and burn down my house and kill my neighbors,” Wang said. “There’s little girl who lives near me … and an uncle who walks the dog downstairs and buys groceries every day. They don’t deserve to die.” Before the war, people worked in hair salons and restaurants, and then they went out of their way [to defend themselves]. That’s what I saw.”

Wang told the Los Angeles Times, “As of today, I feel I’ve pretty much completed what history requires from a nobody like me. Hopefully history’s next steps don’t need me.”

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