It’s the story of a blind lawyer, one who fights for the rights of those less fortunate. He’s hunted by his powerful enemies. He’s been forced into hiding. His heroism puts his family in danger. He scales massive walls in the middle of the night to secure his freedom. Sounds like we’re talking about the Marvel Comics hero Daredevil, right? Wrong. Instead, we’re talking about Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng.
The dramatic nighttime escape of a blind rights lawyer from extralegal house arrest in his village dealt a major embarrassment to the Chinese government and left the United States, which may be sheltering him, with a new diplomatic quandary as it seeks to improve its fraught relationship with Beijing. …
[With] Mr. Chen now believed to be on the grounds of the American Embassy in Beijing, administration officials are likely to be far more cautious in handling his case. His advocacy for the handicapped and for families subject to forced abortions and other coercive population control methods is widely known in the West. He also became a symbol of the deficiencies of China’s legal system after he was convicted of criminal charges in 2006 in a prosecution that Chinese lawyers — and even some officials in Beijing — felt made a mockery of China’s claims to be developing better legal norms.
We all love our fictional heroes. Millions will see The Avengers on May 4th, and millions will see The Dark Knight Rises on July 20th. But there are real heroes among us, and their stories are often times more exciting than what you see on the big screen. Since Hollywood types couldn’t even manage Red Dawn remake featuring China (they apparently went with North Korea to avoid annoying China), something tells me Chen’s story won’t be given the green light anytime soon. Add in his activism in opposition to China’s forced-abortion policy (the one Joe Biden “understands”) and it’s hard to imagine Hollywood investment in such an amazing story.
Chen Guangcheng may be blind, but he’s opening the eyes of millions of people to what Communist China really stands for. Like Shin In Geun, who somehow managed to escape from a North Korean gulag, the free world needs to familiarize itself with the story. We need to see what Chen sees. Tiny sparks can often create big flames, and fires are not always a bad thing—particularly if they’re burning oppressive regimes.