An electrifying memoir by the blind Chinese activist who inspired millions with the story of his fight for justice and his belief in the cause of freedomIt was like a scene out of a thriller: one morning in April 2012, China's most famous political activist a blind, self-taught lawyer climbed over the wall of his heavily guarded home and escaped. Days later, he turned up at the American embassy in Beijing, and only a furious round of high-level negotiations made it possible for him to leave China and begin a new life in the United States.Chen Guangcheng is a unique figure on the world stage, but his story is even more remarkable than anyone knew. The son of a poor farmer in rural China, blinded by illness when he was an infant, Chen was fortunate to survive a difficult childhood. But despite his disability, he was determined to educate himself and fight for the rights of his country's poor, especially a legion of women who had endured forced sterilizations and abortions under the hated one child policy. Repeatedly harassed, beaten, and imprisoned by Chinese authorities, Chen was ultimately placed under house arrest. After nearly two years of increasing danger, he evaded his captors and fled to freedom.Both a riveting memoir and a revealing portrait of modern China, The Barefoot Lawyer tells the story of a man who has never accepted limits and always believed in the power of the human spirit to overcome any obstacle.
Chen Guangcheng, known to many as the barefoot lawyer, was born in the village of Dongshigu in 1971. Blind since infancy, illiterate until his late teens, he nonetheless taught himself law and became a fiery advocate for tens of thousands of Chinese who had no voice. His escape from inhuman house arrest in China made international headlines, as did his flight to the American embassy in Beijing. In 2012 he became a student at New York University Law School. He continues to be active in human rights, and currently holds positions as Visiting Fellow at the Catholic University of America, Distinguished Senior Fellow in Human Rights at the Witherspoon Institute, and Senior Distinguished Advisor to the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. He now lives with his wife and two children in the Washington, D.C., area.