“You know he’s blind, so the night to him is nothing,” said dissident artist Ai Weiwei when his friend, fellow victim of China’s Big Chill, and human rights activist Chen Guangcheng escaped detention — climbing walls, running through villages on an injured ankle and slipping past “multiple cordons of guards”… blind. After hiding out at the American Embassy for a thwarted short while, Chen is currently in a Beijing hospital and allowed to go study abroad.

The self-taught lawyer and crusader against forced abortions and sterilizations has been invited to study at NYU’s US-Asia Law Institute, but he might need to go apply for a passport in his home province where he and his family were illegally detained on house arrest for 19 months.

Or not. With all attention on Chen, Ai Weiwei calls this “a very symbolic moment and a very big moment” for China. “I think the officials cannot behave the same way anymore. They have to do something. They have to do something to make a political change.” Cue the protest street art.