Nobel Prize nominee Chai Ling fights for human rights
Twenty seven years ago this April thousands of Chinese students protested in Tiananmen Square for democratic freedom and willingly laid down their lives.
One of the 1989 protest leaders was Chai Ling, who continues to carry their torch in opposition to China's childbirth policies that have taken an estimated 200 million lives by abortion, mostly girls.
The two-time Nobel Prize nominee founded the All Girls Allowed movement in 2010, after realising that the abortions resulting from these restrictions and hefty financial penalties are a "gendercide" and are "hundreds of times more deadly than the Tiananmen Massacre."
China's policy change in October 2015 cancelled a "social maintenance fee", up to double a household's annual per capita income (around A$30,000), but only for a second child born after that date.
Yet the manhunt and harassment of Chinese pro-democratic dissidents continues today as 2010 Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo remains in jail. Despite this, Chai is unfazed.
"My life was no longer the same after Tiananmen, but my desire for freedom never changed," Chai said in a 2013 Justice Conference speech in Pennsylvania.
After ten months with the Chinese underground, Chai escaped in a ship's cargo box for five days to America, where she studied business and aimed to become a successful entrepreneur like Bill Gates.
She co-founded an education software company and human rights foundation with her husband, and funded orphanages, humanitarian efforts and human rights organisations in China.
Then a crippling panic attack in 2009 led to her founding All Girls Allowed.
On a plane trip she lost all her strength and says, "I realised how small I actually am when confronted with the force of an entire regime."
Months later, at a hearing in the US Capitol about China's one child policy, she was gripped by the story of one woman's forced abortion. She testified that Family Planning officials found her in hiding, dragged her into an abortion clinic and cut up her baby.
Chai remembers that the mother, Wujian "blamed herself for not being able to protect her child. She was only saved through finding her faith in (Jesus) Christ," escaping the terrible statistic that "every day in China 500 women commit suicide."
Chai thought, "If anyone could stop this brutality, it could only be God ... God knows how hard I had tried, and we did not succeed."
After questioning several mentors and friends about who Jesus is, Chai recalls in her online testimony: "I prayed: 'Dear Lord, Jesus Christ, I now accept you as my Saviour and my only God. Please forgive all my sins, known or unknown; please come into my heart and guide my life.'
"Then I waited, to see what might happen. I was expecting some serious fireworks or loud music! What I got was an amazing sense of peace... Finally, God is in charge!"
Her zeal and frustration for justice, she realised, was to self-medicate her own pain: "I have put my definition of justice above this all-loving, all-kind, all compassionate and all-just God!"
"God started healing my long neglected health. God brought my children to him. Our marriage blossomed as never before, with more intimacy, joy and love, after the Lord drew both of us closer to Him.
"All my life, I have been struggling and fighting on my own. Now I have never felt so completely welcomed and embraced. I am home, at last."
Chai Ling now wants to bring the hope of God's love and freedom to the people of China.
She is not alone in her quest as other 1989 protesters have become Christians: Zhang Boli (now a pastor), Yuan Zhiming (now an evangelist), Xiong Yan (now a US Army chaplain), and Bob Fu (founder of the ChinaAid charity).
These dissidents concluded that universal human rights only makes sense if it is founded in the loving and just God of the Bible who made us all equal.
As Chai said in 2013, "The unquenchable fire in my heart for freedom and justice could not be satisfied until 20 years later, when I gave my life to Jesus."
Instead of bitterness against China's leaders, Chai Ling has words of compassion for those responsible for the massacres and current policies.
"God's forgiveness is so complete that Christ promised to bring with Him to heaven one of the two criminals who were crucified with Jesus, because he was repentant for his sins," Chai shares in her online life story.
"If only the leaders of China could hear that, no matter what they have done, if only they repent, they can receive the same kind of love and forgiveness we all receive. What a great gift they would receive; freedom for themselves and for China, at last!"•