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A Heart for Freedom: The Remarkable Journey of a Young Dissident, Her Daring Escape, and Her Quest to Free China's Daughters Hardcover – October 4, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

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Gripping . . . moving . . . A compelling tale rich in narrative detail that will keep you completely engrossed. --(David Aikman, former TIME magazine Beijing bureau chief, and eyewitness to the Tiananmen massacre ) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Review

Gripping . . . moving . . . A compelling tale rich in narrative detail that will keep you completely engrossed (David Aikman, former TIME magazine Beijing bureau chief, and eyewitness to the Tiananmen massacre)|A compelling first-person account . . . for all of us seekers who search for true meaning and purpose while battling our private fears and regrets. (Micheal Flaherty, cofounder and president of Walden Media)|A deeply touching firsthand account of what really happened in China that eventually led to the Tiananmen Square massacre. (Yu Ying-shih, professor emeritus, Princeton University, and recipient of the John W. Kluge Prize (2006), Library of Congress)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum; First Edition edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414362463
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414362465
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (175 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #637,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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129 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Rescued By Grace on October 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As an Ivy League graduate and Chinese-American male, I had my own preconceptions before reading Chai Ling's book. I thought I knew everything there was to know about modern Chinese culture, having visited many different parts of China several times. But then I read Ling's book, and three things happened: I was illuminated about the real situation in China; I was convicted about my own apathy (and even endorsement) of what is happening; and I was transformed as I began to see the deep love God has for the Chinese people, from the ranks of the Politburo all the way down to the millions of $2/day peasants. Allow me to elaborate on each point:

Illuminated: Ling doesn't hold back at all, sharing her joys and sorrows, triumphs and defeats. She isn't trying to paint herself as a hero, and it is for this reason that I trust her account of what really happened in the spring of 1989, and what has followed since. I was struck by her earnestness, and also by the level of detail she uses throughout. She shares with an uncomfortable rawness the tragedy of what happened at Tiananmen--the mistakes of the democratic student movement and the failures of the government that mercilessly crushed the movement, literally, to death. Then, I was shocked by the account of what continues today through the one-child policy, a Tiananmen massacre every hour.

Convicted: I was convicted on two fronts--the first, that I have stood idly by while millions of women live under fear and oppression as a result of both the one-child policy and the culture of gendercide. Ling's account opened my eyes to the horror of what a population control policy really means; after all, how could you possibly enforce that policy except by forced abortions and forced sterilizations?
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By JudC on October 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The moving and inspiring story of a young Chinese student leader seeking political freedom in Tiananmen Square who finds it and much more years later through her encounter with God. Chai Ling tells how her spiritual freedom now compels her to confront the "one child" policy in China, an injustice for millions of families and especially their young girls.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's a pitty that the editor does not provide background info over all the controversies surrounding Chai. As the only recognizable female student leader, Chai has been widely criticized for her role during the tragedy, not from Chinese government, but from fellow student leaders. In a famous/infamous interview with the Associated Press during the movement, Chai said that blood needs to be shed to achieve freedom and democracy in China. When asked whether she is willing to shed her blood, Chai said her life is too valuable and she has more important thing to do in the future.

When tanks and troops entered Beijing city, finally surrounding the square when an ultimatum was issued demanding for the students to disperse, the students leaders were divided on how they should response. Most student leaders held that they should evacuate to avoid loss of lives, as it became clear troops would not hesitate to shoot them. But Chai argued for making a stand. According to some student leaders, she made a speech to students, calling them to confront the troops, and then fled before security forces closed in. Most students left the Square following other student leaders, but some students did make stand and was shot at in the following conflicts, leading many to criticize Chai for her hypocracy. The rationale of her choice seems to lie in a belief that shooting at protestors would bring huge intl' pressure which would push forward the movement. It is exactly the same menality shared by Mao Zhedong, that is a willingness to sacrifice huge number of lives for strategic gains. In this sense, Chai was more like a red guard than a freedom fighter perceived by the West.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an epic story that everyone should read! I could not put it down. I want everyone I know to read this incredible story of Chai Ling's life - it's amazing what this woman has been through and accomplished. As a child I remember the Tiananmen Square protests only vaguely, but Chai Ling's recounting makes you feel as if you are one of the students, in the square, hoping and waiting for her words. Her clarity in weaving together the tale of the students alongside what the Chinese governments was doing at the same time was so brave and beautiful - she isn't trying to rewrite history or convince you of her reasons, but just let's you walk alongside her making you feel like a freedom fighter too!

I love how she shares the highs and low lows so you truly see her heart and the heart of the students. They all have such a love for their country that they would go without food, without sleep, without their families and the educations that their whole life's success hangs on just to get the message across. I was totally inspired to change the world, but that is not even what she is trying to say - it's not her point that we should follow in her footsteps - she is just sharing how love for her country and family compelled her. It's gritty, beautiful love. I wish we had more leaders like her!

Ling doesn't hide her flaws or mistakes - and she shares some really personal ones including four abortions that weigh on her throughout her life. I was so refreshed by her honesty and how she is not trying to justify herself to anyone or explain away her mistakes, she shares a really tragic story of abortion that many women in China can't talk about because of the shame -- she reveals a very hidden intimate part of herself so that others can find healing too.
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