I am very grateful for the complimentary copy of A Heart for Freedom by Chai Ling from Tyndale Publishers. I was eagerly awaiting this book's arrival. The content seemed different, interesting and waiting to be read. A Heart for Freedom exceeded my expectations tenfold. The reader is immediately drawn into Ling's story and captured by her innocence. Her account is marked by passion, grief, love, hope and triumph- all key ingredients of a memorable story.
Chai Ling was brought up in an oppressive, stifling culture that was hinged upon tradition and familial devotion. Early on she realized the one way for her to obtain her father's love and favor was through scholastic merit and achievement. As Ling continued to strive for love and found herself as a young college student at prestigious Beida University in Beijing, far from home, she found her calling as a voice for change and hope for the people of her homeland.
There she discovered she could make a difference by standing firm for what she felt was right. Even as a young girl she wasn't easily persuaded to join the Party as her Communist parents had. Seeking reform in government, a group of dissident students asked for dialogue with government officials. Eventually, they received far more than they bargained for.
Thousands of lives were lost in Beijing around Tiananmen Square in the Spring of 1989. Chai Ling as one of the leaders of the growing movement had to hide for months among strangers before seeking refuge in America. Now, 22 years later, Ling is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and now a philanthropist. As she has found healing in Christ, Ling is now trying to help extend Christ's love to her beloved China and bring awareness to oppression of China's one-child policy and the female's inherent value to society through her non-profit organization.
A Heart for Freedom reached deep recesses of my heart and soul, leaving me to wonder what do I do with all of what Ling shared? To hear of the harsh realities of forced abortion, inhumane treatment of life and the deceptive lies that the Chinese people are inundated with is astounding and incomprehensible.
Ling's love for her people, the passion and hope she tenaciously clings to and her honesty are beautiful and enough to change the lives of many readers. I only hope that I am among them. For her to live in and endure an oppressive culture is hard enough, but to stand up in the face of the opposition is monumental. A Heart for Freedom is Chai Ling's gift to us, the beauty in the ashes.
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