Mr. Chen has been on the news quite a bit lately, and I find his story inspiring. He’s a “self-taught lawyer” who has been an activist for change in China–and consequently earning his government’s ire–since the late 1990s. Recently, he escaped from house arrest and fled to Beijing, where the latest reports indicate he is under US protection. Oh, yes–Mr. Chen happens to be blind.
Although I do wish reporters would stop referring to him as “blind activist*,” I think it’s pretty awesome that he escaped his guards by himself, including navigating obstacles like walls he had to climb over and evading guards who were hunting for him, despite his vision impairment. Take that, people who think blind = can’t.
*Why do I object to this descriptor? I think it sensationalizes his disability, making it more important than his personhood. It’s saying, “look what the blind guy can do!”, as if it’s unusual for blind people to do things. From where I’m sitting, knowing that someone has a vision impairment is just about as useful as knowing that they have blond hair, green eyes, or freckles. We don’t say “blond activist,” so why say “blind activist?”
You can learn more about Mr. Chen In CNN’s article, Escaped Chinese Activist in U.S. Embassy, Friend Says at http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/28/world/asia/china-activist-escape/index.html?hpt=hp_t1