Hitting the End of the Road

In the winter of 1983, I was released from a Beijing detention center. The officer who walked me to the gate said: "If you cause any more trouble, we can make you disappear."

I went home, packed a water bottle, my camera and Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. Since it was illegal to leave home without official authorization from the work unit, I sneaked back to my office and forged the necessary documents. Then, without saying goodbye to anyone, I left the red walls of Beijing behind and embarked on a three-year adventure to the most remote parts of China.

I...

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