Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng blazed across the global news headlines earlier this year when he escaped from custody in China and sought refuge in the American Embassy - but Peter White has known Chen for about ten years and interviewed him several times. In this special edition of the programme, Peter draws on those recordings - and records a new interview - with Guangcheng to explore his childhood, his lack of formal education and his attitude to disability.
Chen talks about his interest in law and his growing political awareness, which resulted in him taking on cases for blind and disabled people who were being forced to pay taxes, despite laws exempting them. These actions brought him to the attention of the Chinese authorities and he soon became a thorn in their side. He was imprisoned for over four years and then placed under house arrest, during which time he and his wife were beaten by local officials.
Chen eventually escaped and was finally allowed to fly to America to study law in New York, which is where Peter went to talk to him for this programme.
Prod: Cheryl Gabriel.