His family was beaten daily while armed guards surrounded the rundown hovel the government forced him to call home.
What a bleak existence.
This unlikely freedom fighter, Chen Guangcheng by name, is the most famous lawyer in China.
Whoever thought this blind 41-year-old self-taught attorney would ever overcome his handicap to challenge the most powerful dictatorship on earth?
How did Chen get here?
With the same relentless determination he used to overcome society's attitude toward the sightless, Chen initiated legal actions to protect farmers stripped of their land by the greedy government.
Chen then went after China's holy cow: forced abortions.
He said it out loud: no moral authority should kidnap pregnant women to bloody their wombs with the atrocity of "pregnancy terminations" conducted at gunpoint.
Corpses of the tiny pre-born accumulate in Chinese solid waste facilities.
Chen forced the government to listen to him.
And to the unheard voices of over 400 million children ripped from their mothers strapped to a gurney.
So Chen, the prisoner under house arrest, hatched a plan.
He pretended to be ill for six weeks.
The guards became lax.
How closely must you watch a blind man riddled with infirmity?
He snuck out of his room late at night.
A garden wall was his challenge.
Summoning all his strength, he scaled the wall like Spiderman, landing on the other side, snapping his ankle bone.
Almost one thousand yards away, a car waited.
He hobble-sprinted to the automobile and the escapee's chauffeur, another young dissident, put the pedal to the metal.
In no time, several hundreds of miles later, Chen's chariot of freedom pulled into sanctuary: the American Embassy!
The outraged Chinese government decried the meddling by the Americans.
Meanwhile, the world beheld the breathless daring of this new international hero.
His ever-present sunglasses gave him a certain cachet.
Not since Lech Walessa challenged the Polish Politburo has one man so galvanized millions across the globe.
James Bond was a fiction.
Chen is the real deal.
How will the drama and?
Not well, if our president continues to sit on his hands.
Obama has been no-commenting his way through this saga of courage since it began.
After the State Department announced that it had negotiated Chen's safe exit from the embassy into a police infested Chinese hospital, the Chinese government said nothing had been negotiated with anyone.
So today Chen lives in the medical facility converted into a militarized holding cell to keep Chen under wraps.
A congressional committee talked to Chen live over a cell phone during a committee hearing Thursday.
It was riveting.
Chen pled for help for himself and for his family.
Will it come?
I pray that it does.
Does Secretary of State Hillary Clinton share my prayer?
Does she really want Planned Parenthood to see her assist the world's greatest pro-life activist?
Does President Obama want to help the Communist Party's biggest critic when the White House is hawking American debt in Beijing?
Don't let Chen's story die off.
The speedy driver who took him to the United States Embassy has disappeared, Mafia style.
This is a moment in history, Mr. President.
Seize this moment.
Be like the president who intoned, " Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
Stare down the Red Dragon: Don't pet him while you feed him treats of American jobs and American real estate.
You and Walmart are slowly bringing that Dragon to American shores.
Stop it now and use this opportunity to force the Dragon into the bright light of public scrutiny.
Then perhaps the Red Dragon will face the same fate as the Russian Bear: ultimate extinction.
Let's secure freedom for Chen.
And for the world.
Don your sunglasses, Americans.
Pray for presidential courage.
And for a gutsy blind lawyer who hopes the bald eagle will carry him off to freedom for himself and for a world holding its breath.