Chai Ling fought for human rights at Tiananmen Square. Now she’s taking on China’s One Child Policy.
Chai Ling is no stranger to activism. She was a key leader in China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protest and as a result ended up on the communist nation’s list of the 21 most-wanted students. But since she accepted Christ last year, Chai has been on a mission to expose a practice she says is “hundreds [of] times” worse than the government’s massacre of hundreds of student protestors.
Through her organization, All Girls Allowed, Chai is working to raise awareness about the horrors of China’s One Child Policy. Chai says hundreds of Chinese women commit suicide every day as a result of forced abortion and pressure against women in general. Others have fled the nation. Many families, preferring boys, abort their baby girls, or abandon female infants, advocates say.
“I realized there’s a Tiananmen massacre going on every day and nobody knows about it,” she says.
The daughter of two army medical doctors, Chai had little exposure to Christianity growing up. She says God—or Shangdi—was just a name she came across in a foreign novel at age 10. “It was a word that was forbidden in our society,” she says.
Although she didn’t know much about religion, for some reason she prayed to the name she read about and asked Him to make her an outstanding student—and she was. But 20 years passed without her making a commitment to Christ. After being put on a watch list by the Chinese government, she fled to the U.S., attended Princeton and Harvard, married an American and eventually launched a successful software company. She’s been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Several Christians witnessed to her through the years, including her husband. But it was after attending a U.S. congressional hearing on China’s forced abortion practices that she sensed God calling her. There she heard the testimony of Wujian, a woman who was forced to abort when she became pregnant without a government birth permit .
Wujian testified that she was dragged into a hospital and forcibly injected with two toxic shots to induce an abortion. When the baby did not die, she was taken into an operating room, where her baby was surgically removed and cut into pieces.
Chai says the testimony reminded her of how helpless she felt at Tiananmen Square. And though she had not embraced faith in Christ, she believed only God was big enough to stand against such brutality.
“Wujian’s cry struck me to the core,” Chai says. “If there is anyone who could stop this brutality, it has to be God, and it could only be God.”
After talking with Christian mentors and friends who had been witnessing to her for years, Chai says she came to believe God had a plan for her and that He wanted to use her to take His love to China. She accepted Christ in December 2009 and last June launched All Girls Allowed (allgirlsallowed.org).
The organization is set up to educate the world about China’s One Child Policy and encourage Chinese families not to abort and abandon their baby girls. One way the organization tries to do this is by giving parents a baby shower gift. “We’re going to these cities, primarily in the countryside, and finding couples who are pregnant and educating them about the value of girls,” says Brian Lee, executive director of All Girls Allowed.
Families who choose to keep their baby girls will be given a monthly financial stipend for a year. The organization also supports orphanages and reunites separated families.
Chai says after 20 years her mission to bring hope and freedom to China has not changed. She believes God has been working in her life all along, and today she trusts God to bring the victory in China.”