Book Review: A Heart For Freedom

The Tiananmen event was a milestone in God’s redemptive plan for China. He allowed evil to happen—the massacre—to kill our belief in the Communist system. This revelation brought an end to my search for an answer to the question I asked during the last hours of the protest: Why do they have to kill us when all we wanted was a dialogue? I believe that God allowed the leaders to harden their hearts, just as he hardened Pharaoh’s heart in the time of Moses, so he could reveal the true nature of Communism and kill the false belief and hope the people had in it. God used the massacre to work toward his plan for China. – A Heart For Freedom (Pg. 327, by Chai Ling; Tyndale Publishing)

Over twenty years ago, Chai Ling led more than a million protestors to Tiananmen square. In 1989, this protest ended in a blood path. Chai Ling became China’s most wanted fugitive and escaped first to France and then, America. This book details her struggles, her fears, her tears, her grief, and ultimately how she came to be saved.

There were so many similarities of China to our struggling country now. I read a few paragraphs to my husband and we stared uneasily at each other. “Sounds like us.” He finally spoke. Chai Ling said in regards to her first taste of freedom and opportunity in America:

My education in freedom continued. Once again I was shocked by the realities of America’s prized system: First, it’s politics were not totally dedicated to freedom; then it’s private companies were not immune to pressure from China; and now the media were marching in lockstep. It was the last place I had expected to be attacked, but there it was. The American media, which had been so instrumental in getting the true story out of China, had now turned its guns on the students and me. These false accusations shifted responsibility for the massacre onto the students and justified the murders.”

(Pg. 262)

How many of us Tea Party members could heartily agree! Then, she speaks frequently throughout the book about her abortions—the forced abortions and the voluntary one. She speaks about the evil and corruption in the China government and police. Ling had been raped in college and the police did nothing except persecute her. She had to have an abortion. Unmarried women and women under the age of twenty-five years old are not given permits to have children in China. China has a one child policy and only one permit goes per married couple. Women who insist upon having their child are hunted down and forced to have an abortion; or they have an abortion out of shame and emotional blackmail from their families. Ling’s father forced her to have an abortion.

Did you know that according to the Chinese government statistics for 2009 and 2010 that, “70 percent of the 16 million abortions each year—that’s 11.2 million women and children affected—are for unmarried women?” Ling also speaks about her healing. The quote below moved me to tears:

Because of past wounds, I am especially vulnerable to attacks on my reputation—the insults, the judgments behind my back, the silent avoidance. Then I knew God was calling me to humble myself, like Jesus did, to show my brokenness to the world so that he could bring healing to many, even as he brings healing to me.” (Pg. 318)

I closed the book on the last page and wiped the tears from my eyes. I related to her emotional pain (not abortions) and felt shame for those times in the past when I, too, unintentionally lacked love when I spoke truth about abortions. Abortion is wrong. It is murder, but many times we forget the women coming to get an abortion are just as lost as we once were and most are shamed into it by boyfriends, husbands, or families. Instead of wearing tee-shirts that put down abortion, we should stand in prayer vigil outside abortion clinics and pray for the workers and those coming for abortions. We should love them. This book is quite moving and tells the story of political and emotional China as Chai Ling tells her story. I have a new view on China.

If you are interested in learning about Chai Ling’s ministry, please go to the web page. Do you have a place in her ministry?

Tyndale gave me a copy of this book for the purpose of review.

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