The bravest boy in China

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By HOU LIQIANG

In Au­gust, I was re­united with Guo Bin, one of the bravest peo­ple I have ever met. In 2013, when Guo was 6, his eyes were gouged out by an aunt. The mo­tive for the at­tack has never been es­tab­lished be­cause the woman was found dead shortly af­ter­ward.

The hor­rific in­ci­dent at­tracted global at­ten­tion and con­dem­na­tion, and peo­ple across the world re­sponded by send­ing do­na­tions to the hos­pi­tal where the boy was be­ing treated to help pay his med­i­cal bills.

At the time, Chi­nese so­cial me­dia was abuzz, but one com­ment re­mained in my mind: “Sooner or later the boy will be for­got­ten, but he will live in dark­ness for his whole life.” To some ex­tent, that pre­dic­tion was cor­rect — Guo, known af­fec­tion­ately as Bin­bin — has been all but for­got­ten, but that doesn’t mean he lives in dark­ness.

The first time I met Bin­bin was at the hos­pi­tal in Taiyuan, the cap­i­tal of Shanxi prov­ince, where he was try­ing to come to terms with what had hap­pened to him.

He kept touch­ing the toys that peo­ple had sent him, try­ing to fig­ure out what they were. Sud­denly, he asked: “Why is it dark all the time?” It was a heart­break­ing mo­ment.

A short time later, my work took me to Kenya for al­most two years, and al­though I kept in touch with Bin­bin’s mother, I didn’t know much about the boy’s con­di­tion.

When we met again, he was in Bei­jing to par­tic­i­pate in the na­tional oca­rina tour­na­ment. I hadn’t seen him for al­most three years, and I was as­ton­ished by how much he had changed and grown.

“I want to be a mu­si­cian,” he told me, en­thu­si­as­ti­cally. He smiled all the time, es­pe­cially when his team was awarded the gold medal.

His teacher told me that the 9-year-old also plays bass gui­tar in a band, and mu­sic is the dom­i­nant force in his life.

So, de­spite the pre­dic­tion, it seems that Guo will not live in dark­ness for­ever.

Rather, he has found a guid­ing light through the power of mu­sic.

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