Wang Enlin, now in his 60s, lives on the outskirts of Qiquhar in the Heilongjiang Province of China, according to the People's Daily Online. He'll never forget the 2001 Lunar New Year. He was playing cards and cooking dumplings with his neighbors when suddenly his home and farmland were flooded with toxic waste from the nearby Qihua factory. Wang had dropped out of school after the third grade, so he had no idea what laws Qihua had broken, but he was determined to find out.
He could not afford books, so he went to a local bookstore and offered the shopkeeper free bags of corn if he could sit in the store and read. Using a dictionary, he spent 16 years studying a dozen law books. He taught his neighbors, whose land was also polluted, exactly how to gather legal evidence. In 2007, a Chinese law form began providing free legal advice, and helped the villagers petition the court, where the case was delayed eight years. But thanks to the evidence Wang had gathered, he and his neighbors won the court battle. Of course Qihua Group has appealed the ruling, but Wang will not give up. "We will certainly win," he says. "Even if we lose, we will continue to battle."