Released on 12 March 2015.

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The Barefoot Lawyer

The Remarkable Memoir of China’s Bravest Political Activist

4.28 based on 202 ratings & 48 reviews on


It 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. For days, his whereabouts remained unknown; after he turned up at the American embassy in Beijing, a furious round of high-level negotiations finally led to his release and 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 we 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 under the hated 'one child' policy. Repeatedly harassed, beaten, and imprisoned by Chinese authorities, Chen was ultimately placed under house arrest. After a year of fruitless protest and increasing danger, he evaded his captors and fled to freedom.

With a foreword by the Dalai Lama, this is both a riveting memoir and a revealing portrait of modern China, this passionate book 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.

In the media

Here is China down and dirty, a side of the country rarely, if ever, experienced by foreigners, no matter how knowledgeable or fluent in the language they are...The first pages of this book recount in moving and often exquisite detail - the English translation by Danica Mills reads very well - how Chen, when still a little boy, was guided by his slightly older brothers to touch, stroke and almost see trees, flowers, animals and insects.
Literary Review
The book is vital reading for those hoping to understand the struggle of China's disabled people to gain fair treatment, the party's continuing stranglehold on the implementation of the law, and the pressures and compromises involved in human rights negotiations in China [...] Chen's extraordinary tenacity is the keynote of the book.