China’s Other Local Hero

In the week since its opening, the Beijing Olympics has already presented us with many highs. It’s been a real roller coaster of a ride. Add to it the usual hoopla, in-your-face-style of reporting, and presto! you’ve got the whole package in your hands – all just a remote control away. This Olympics, like the so many before it, will no doubt raise new heroes and reinforce old ones, and especially – local heroes.

But I was more intrigued by an article in the Reporters Without Borders website entitled: “A China More Just” dated 31st July 2008. The bye-line in part, goes like this: “The story of one man who has taken on the world’s largest authoritarian regime… And, in the eyes of many, won.”

It’s the story of another kind of hero, also “Made in China”. One which tells the story of Gao Zhisheng. A 41 year old lawyer who has been labeled the “Conscience of China”. Attorney. Activist. Fearless. Faithful. These are some of the descriptions that portray Mr. Gao.

In the midst of all the noise and celebrations, it’s easy to miss the silence, in this case, someone like Gao. While we celebrate with the winners and weep with the losers at the Games, it’s an opportune time also to NOT forget the self-sacrificing local heroes like Gao and others like him in China and elsewhere.

For more stories on Gao go here and click here for the full Reporters Without Borders article.

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