A Heart for Freedom is an interesting look at Chai Ling's life. She tells about her life in China and her involvement at Tiananmen Square. I admired the author's bravery of coming forward to tell her story.
This incredible story opens with 3 small incidents that shatter the dreams of a Chinese family: attempt rape of Chai Ling, her beloved watch stolen by police, and the false accusation of her Mom for stealing 2 microscopes. But Chai Ling was determined to make her family proud by doing well in her university studies and got accepted as a graduate student at the Child Psychology Institute of Beijing Normal University. She married Feng, a student leader, and had to abort several babies because they were too young to get a license to have one. Meanwhile, problems started at Tiananmen Square. In an incredible speech Chai Ling urged the students to join in a hunger strike to get freedom and democracy. The students wanted the government to realize that they loved their nation and were sacrificing their health to ask for freedom. They never expected the government would bring tanks to fire on them. Eventually after hiding for a year, Chai Ling and Feng had to flee China on a boat, for the government had their pictures posted everywhere and their escape was miraculous. Once in America Chai Ling found it difficult to get a job with investment banking firms because they were concerned about the China portion of their business. The biggest miracle came when Chai Ling learned about Jesus and found forgiveness for her forced abortions. You truly have to read this book to understand how long they endured government oppression before fleeing, how God revealed Himself to Chai Ling, how terrible the one baby policy in China is, and the importance of Americans helping to transform China to respect basic human rights and freedom to worship.
This is the true story of Chai Ling, who was a leader of the protesters at Tiananmen Square in China. She tells her story from her childhood to the present, focusing on the Tiananmen Square events in 1989.
I found this to be a good book. The author's story is interesting and I liked the photos as well.
Chai Ling's story brings to light not only the events leading up to Tiananmen Square but also the difficulties of growing up in China, where the sacrifice of personal needs for the needs of the whole was always emphasized. I found it fascinating to read about what was going on from her view point about the massacre, although it was difficult to keep track of who was doing what, when. Equally fascinating was to learn of the hardships she faced after Tiananmen Square, not only for herself but also her family and yet then to see how God has used it and redeemed it for His glory.
This book is outside of my usual genre, and I expected to feel like I *had* to make it through the book. This was not the case at all. Ling quietly tells the story of her life. She doesn't do it to victimize herself. She doesn't do it to proclaim her greatness. Instead she quietly brings you through her story which is filled with strong emotions step-by-step. You don't even realize the journey most of the time.
Sometimes, the story was too much to handle at once and I had to walk away for a time, but I needed to know more, just like she needed to share.
I have never been familiar with Tienanmen Square. Sure, I knew about it, and that it was awful, but I didn't understand it. This book was really an insightful look into Chinese politics and culture. Something most Americans know precious little about.
Ling never yells at the reader, though she recounts many conflicts, yet her story is compelling. Many times along the path you ask "why" or "how", and she is upfront in telling you when she doesn't have the answer. But if she can provide an answer she does.
Her transformation from a bitter, scared, scarred student to a gracious, forgiving, freed woman is a journey of hope and inspiration for everyone. And through her story, we also carry a hope for China.