A view of our yard from our main gate. This is where the clutch of guards used to sit who were on duty when I escaped.

On the morning of April 20, 2012, I began my escape by climbing over the wall surrounding our yard and dropping into our neighbor’s lot. I lay for some time on the flat-roofed building at the center of this photo, trying to stay out of sight.

In this recent photo, Elder Brother stands beside the wall between our first and second neighbors’ yards. I knew that a tree grew close to the eastern side of the wall; I tried to climb down it during my escape, but instead I fell. (Photo Credit: Hu Jia)

My neighbors’ mentally ill son, Chen Guangfeng, lives in a prisonlike room in my neighbor’s yard. I did my best to stay out of his view and avoid their dog before climbing into a pen with several goats.

Many years ago this overgrown yard had been the site of my family’s home. When I dropped over the wall surrounding the yard, I fell onto a pile of rocks and broke my right foot.

The night of my escape, I managed to partially dismantle the stone wall pictured in this photo (it was later repaired). The road opposite the wall was lit with spotlights; I was completely exposed as I crossed.

The terrain along the Meng River on the way to the nearby village of Xishigu is steep and dangerous. I periodically threw pebbles over the bank to help me gauge my distance from the river. I was extremely lucky that there were no guards posted on the bridge to Xishigu when I arrived there.

Within two hours of returning home after more than four years in prison, I found I was prohibited from leaving my yard. Once again, my home had become my prison. (Photo Credit: Chen Guangxin)

Friends and family brought me from Xishigu to a safe house in Beijing that had been secured by Guo Yushan.

Guards constantly patrolled the corner of National Route 205 and the road into Dongshigu; they built the white house pictured here as a surveillance post and used the cars as roadblocks. Anyone who tried to enter the village after I returned from prison was stopped and beaten.

A view of our yard from our main gate. This is where the clutch of guards used to sit who were on duty when I escaped.