Finding the Courage to Win

This is the story of an unassuming electrician working hard at a city zoo. He was not known as the kind to stir up trouble, but as mounting injustice swirled around him, he couldn't help himself. He wrote and published a couple of essays expressing his beliefs - and was promptly arrested and sentenced to 15 years in a violent prison.

The man is Wei Jingsheng, communist China's most famous and revered political prisoner. His journey from layman to legendary crusader holds a valuable lesson about the strength of Vision. Wei's vision for a democratic China has granted him the courage and willpower to overcome countless unspeakable obstacles. Today he lives a free man and continues to fight for human rights.

The lesson we can learn is this: There is power and courage inside each one of us, waiting for an excuse to escape.

In 1978, Wei dared to stand apart in order to be heard. He had the nerve to sign his name and address to his posted essay. This was unheard of in a country where "many Chinese people…have even grown accustomed to being oppressed."

He spent eight months on death row and five years in solitary confinement with little light or food. He was tortured. He was beaten by other prisoners who hoped for the reward of a reduced sentence. Still he did not give up.

Instead, he wrote and smuggled out articles and letters that fanned the flames of the growing democratic movement. He took money from international human rights awards he won while in prison and supported other political victims.

After 14 years, Wei was released - and was arrested again after six months. The beatings continued. Almost all of his teeth fell out. He had high blood pressure, heart problems and arthritis, but was not allowed medication. He went on a hunger strike for a heater. Still he did not give up.

Finally, in 1997, China sent Wei to the United States. However, his release was not freedom, but exile from the country he loved in return for economic concessions. Still he does not give up. To this day, Chinese activists fighting for democracy still rally around his writings, while he lectures and lobbies for their human rights.

The man who has been called the "Chinese Mandela" did more than cope with the world that found him. He conquered it, both in fact and in spirit. When Wei posted his essay, he had no idea of the destiny that awaited him. Fortunately for the world, the strength of his vision gave him the courage and drive to rise to the challenge.

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Member Comments

Thank you for sharing this. Report
What a touching and inspiring story. Thank you for sharing. Report
Good article. Report
Such an inspirational story! Report
This story brings tears to my eyes. What a remarkable man. Thanks SP for sharing his story! Report
That should be: make my heart swell with joy. Don't know what happened. Report
I would hope I'd have the same courage of Wei (sp?). He makes my hearty sweet with pride in his actions and attitude. Americans can learn a lot from this brave man and his convictions. Report
Very good article, makes you wonder what you would do if presented with the same circumstances. Thank You for sharing this article. Report
Thanks for sharing this article! Report
I personally cannot relate his story to my weight loss struggles since my motivation is so completely selfish and he essentially gave his life for his country but it was good to read a story of selfless love for one's own country especially after reading some horrible stories currently making the news about how there is little value of human life found in China currently but maybe there are still a few people like him still willing to fight for a cause and maybe we as Americans need to remember this story when we are voting for a city council member or for the president because i think the only thing more harmful than ignorance is apathy in the voting booth. Report
This is a great testament to the power of vision and motivation. Report
thought I was reading from "human rights watch" for a second-it's a big stretch comparing someone's life and death struggle with our piddly concerns about weight loss. Report
This is real drive and courage. Report
Thank you for this article! I know some feel tha it is not related to weight loss, but I believe it can be related to any struggle you have in your life. I just got back from grocery shopping and ran into a friend of my ex (he trashes me to everyone). I said hello to the woman and tried not to think about what awful tales he has told her about me. I kept reminding myself that there is nothing I can do about it, but this story reminded me to stand tall and persevere through this trial, my weight loss journey, and every trial to come. Thank you again for this article! Report
What a remarkable article to find on a weight loss site! Thank you so much for reminding us that it's the WHOLE person that needs healing in this quest and I'm grateful for the insight into Wei's life. Report


About The Author

Mike Kramer
Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.