Chai Ling, A Heart for Freedom, (2011, Tyndale House.)
The world is often not shocked by the birth of people, nor surprised as people are born every few seconds and then facing the vicissitudes of the human race have various responses to life’s desserts. Ms. Ling is one person born in the age of conformity and who must have grown into young adulthood while turning over and over the merits of societal change, institutional change and ways to achieve this, including dissension, in her country the PRC. From a military family, and in P.R.C. this is hardly a bed of roses, the girls’ father visited her at university just before 1989 Tian Anmen events in which she was featured prominently with her friends Wang and Feng, and others at the premier younger – generation dissenters against Marxists conformism and the one – child policy prevailing in the country at the time. Besides having other, many deeper and more deep – seated traits, Ms. Ling is a survivor of the first order, and while not directly obstructing the military retaliation against Tian An students in 1989, and probably wiser to have not sacrificed herself in a massacre that took place in June of that year at Tian An, Ms. Ling shows herself by all accounts a model of dissenting and contrarianism against many organized factors in place at the time to upset her applecart. It is obvious at the same time the gamesmanship of P.R.C. leadership was based on military influences and did not take into account the proper humanity of the people, and most very young people as well, thinking, talented and all; who were occupying the square at the time the firing and tank attacks began. The reaction of P.R.C. authorities to the student protests leading up to and including the massacre and other military actions against the Bei jing Da Xue students had more to do with individual paranoia of the leadership than the popular disturbances made by the students. This also had to do with the rigidity of P.R.C. rule and the paranoia, extreme conservatism, moralizing and so forth the superiors did at the time – and they failed to settle with the students properly, instead choosing to shoot people and to terrorize the rest. This measure of the narrative, in all its rich detail as Ms. Ling tells it, highlights the absurdities of the Chinese leadership at the time.
The psychology studies that Ms. Ling was following during her university years prepared her well for getting up and speaking before crowds, organizational skills before a large number of people and so on. The illustration of the position she was in at the time is greatly enviable – though who else could have done what she did to reform China in the ways she and her colleagues, and the thousands of students at Tian An with their chanting, singing, shouting capitalist slogans, hunger strikes, and other sacrifices that led the country at the time not to mention those who paid with their lives when, again, the shootings of students took place in the brutal 1980 June crackdown against them. The Pro – Democracy Movement in China began long ago, though it has been greatly helped by such events as Tian An men protests and events, above all the 1989 ones. China is an increasingly urbanized and in urban centers much more concentrated than many city places anywhere. What does this mean and what impact does it have with regard to China and P.R.C.’ image around the world, among other things up until today : The events of 1980 in Bei jing at university might be a feature story or footnote in new books as it might be, though the impact of those series of events has been greatly long – lasting. At long last, the party and its members have realized that the economics of the uprisings that summer, in their great relief featuring the Goddess of Democracy, that marches on Chang An, the coming and going to and from school, and more for all the dissenters involved are not a memory for many people nor for them a thing of the past. The images live on in the hearts of everyone, especially those of emigres to the U.S. who brought this with them in relief from communism, oppression and dissension to freedom. A great read!
Chai Ling – Interview “South China Morning Post”.
Chai Ling – All Girls Allowed.