The ongoing drama behind the story of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng continues to unfold daily. After spending four years in prison and two years on house arrest being beaten for standing up for human rights — specifically against China’s One-Child policy — he escaped. But that is the beginning. Heritage expert Jennifer Marshall has been following the story and wrote of the horror that moved Guangcheng to dedicate his life to this cause:

It has all the makings of a spellbinding screenplay: A blind Chinese dissident outwits a communist regime’s thugs to escape house arrest and seek sanctuary in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Chen Guangcheng scaled walls, crossed fields, slept in a pig pen, injured a foot, and – after 17 hours – connected with an activist he’d never met who drove him toward the capital with the help of an underground network. All this under the eye of China’s domestic security system, which has a bigger annual budget than the nation’s military.

Riveting as news accounts of Chen’s great escape on April 22 may be, what led up to it is fit only for a horror film.

Read more at McClatchy.