Boston (AsiaNews) – Chai Ling, the only woman leader of the1989 Tiannamen Square protests, was baptized on April 4 . She had asked to become a Christian in December 2009.
On the day of her baptism she explained the reasons that brought her to the Christian faith: her inability to change China and the pain of seeing so much violence in her country, not only in the field of human rights and democracy, but above for the forced abortions caused by the one child law, which she defines as “a daily Tiananmen massacre, a hundred times over and done in broad daylight.”
Her testimony was published in full on the ChinaAid website, where she also speaks of the many encounters and friends which helped her to embrace Christianity.
Chai Ling was born during the Cultural Revolution, the daughter of soldiers in the Army for the liberation of the People, at a military base in northeast of China.
During the demonstrations in Tianamen in May-June 1989, Chai Ling, was a 23 year old student of psychology at Beijing Normal University (Beishida). She was the only female group leader, who predicted with great sadness the tragic end of the democratic movement (“There will be a bloodbath,” she said in an interview days before the fateful June 4). Along with 11 other students she had sworn an oath to shed her blood for her country, modelled on the Chinese heroic martyrs of the past who committed suicide in order to re-awaken their people.
After the massacre, Chai Ling became one of the 21 most wanted by Chinese police. With the help of a group of Buddhists and Hong Kong organisations, after a period in hiding, she managed to flee to France and then the United States.
Settled in Boston, she graduated from Harvard in economics and together with her husband, Robert Maggin Jr, created a software company that employs nearly 300 people. She never forgot her oath and has always used part of their profits to help orphanages and organizations for human rights in China.
The discovery of being controlled by the Chinese secret services, their threats and the difficulties of the democratic movement abroad have made her hopeless. “Despite all the battles and successes – she says – I understood how small I was when compared to the strength of an entire system. How could I, an humble individual go against an entire system with enormous resources and a widespread network? “.
In November 2009, in Washington she heard the testimony of Wujian, a Chinese woman forced to abort because she was pregnant without permission from the office responsible for population control.
“That moment – she says – brought back all the memories of helplessness and pain we experienced on the night of the June 4 massacre in 1989. That night was so brutal, yet we had no strength to stop it, and the rest of the world could not stop it, either. Wujian’s story is just one of the 10,000 cases that occurred in that single county in China in 2005. In the past three decades, an estimated 400 million lives have been brutally taken by abortion in China; many were in this form of cruel and inhumane operations, which not only ended the babies’ lives, but also deeply traumatized and endangered the surviving mothers…. No one could ever forget the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre even though it has now been over twenty years. Yet very few of us realized that the three words “One Child Policy” would be a marching order for brutality hundreds times more to the Tiananmen Massacre to happen in the day light, to be repeated each and every day”.
It should be noted that Chai Ling had no religious education: “[In China] – she recalls – we were not allowed to believe in God. “God” was deemed by the leaders as the evil things that the capitalists use to brainwash the people. It was a word that was forbidden in our society. As a result, God’s love was scare too. The society was filled with hatred, distrust and fear. ”
Aided by her husband, a Protestant Christian, and some friends who work as volunteers against abortion, Chai Ling asked to become a Christian on December 4, 2009. On April 4 she received baptism. Faith in the resurrection of Jesus now makes her feel safer and more certain “of God’s victory” in the midst of many tribulations.
In her testimony, Chai Ling has words of compassion for the Chinese leaders responsible for the massacre and the current policies: “God’s forgiveness is so complete, even one of the two criminals, who was crucified with Him, when he repentant for his sins, Christ promise to bring him to heaven. If only, the leaders of China could have heard, no matter what they have done and have committed, if only they repentant, they can receive the same kind of love and forgiveness we all receive. What a great gift they will receive? Freedom for themselves and for China, at last!”
The conversion of Chai Ling is the latest in a series by different Tiananmen leaders. After struggling for ideas of equality and democracy, thanks to their relationship with the West or with missionaries in China, they have discovered that their commitment to human rights is reasonable only if grounded on a Christian basis. “- When we thought we were starting a democracy movement- says Chai Ling – we shouted out all man are born equal. Now I know I can say it with confidence because God had created us all equal in his image and likeness.