He was 29

Many years later they found him in a monastery in China.
He agreed to be interviewed.
He looked happy in the eyes.
He said,
“One question.”
So I said,
“Hong Kong, June 2013.
You were 29.
You said your greatest fear was
That nothing would change,
That the government would continue to grant itself
Unilateral powers.
Every time there is a new leader,
‘They’ll flip the switch’, you said.
. . .That it is only going to get worse
Until policies change.
Free speech
Was incriminating everyone —
It was all being stored away.
You spoke of the ‘architecture of oppression’.

I wanted to shake your hand.
I wanted to tell my kid about you.
I wanted to have a kid so I could tell her
About you.
You said,
‘The public is owed an explanation.’
But you were afraid the people wouldn’t care.
And most didn’t.
They went home
And watched a show
And went to bed.
And things got worse,
Much, much worse.
But I had a family
And I told my daughters
And my son about you.
I named my son Edward.
And there were other heroes after you
Who refused to settle
For being ‘ingested by default’.
So, thanks.
Thanks for what you did.”
“Your question?”
He asked.
His eyes were happy.

— Gary Lindorff