Let Freedom Rise!

"Let Freedom Rise!": Chai Ling's Speech at Urbana12

Delivered on December 28, 2012 (View the video of the speech here.)


By Chai Ling


Yes, my life was no longer the same. But my desire for freedom never changed. The tanks and troops crushed our hope for freedom and replaced it with terror, persecution and a manhunt. I longed for freedom through the next ten months while I was on the run in China; through hiding for 5 days in a ship’s cargo box; through coming to America and rebuilding my family, life and career. But the unquenchable fire in my heart for freedom could not be satisfied until 20 years later when I gave my life to Jesus.


I was lost, but now I’m found.


At the end of 2009, I came to the end of my strength. All my life, I felt I was made to help China. I tried to do it on my own strength but failed. China became wealthy and powerful; the poor and helpless became worse without hope. People who sacrificed for China were made into a target of taunting and defamation. My heart was broken, and my strength was fading. “Where is justice?” I asked. “Where is hope?”


God knew my time was up and He came to me through the story of a Chinese pastor. In his book, he told how God allowed him to fast from food and water for 74 days without dying; God enabled him to escape prison in daylight, and healed his broken legs instantly. That was what I wanted! After some struggle, I knelt down in a corner of my office and gave my life to Jesus.


No words can describe the freedom I felt at that moment. It was an amazing moment of peace, the peace I had been longing for. It was in the midst of that peace that I felt Jesus embrace me and tell me that He knew me and understood me. Jesus lifted the burden to save China off from my weary back: For He is the one who is saving China. He is bringing liberty to the oppressed, and freedom to the captives. That moment, I was set free! “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!” (2 Corinthians 3:17b) These words became true, made fully alive in my life.


I was blind, but now I see.


At the same time I trusted in Jesus, God opened my eyes to one of the worst—and most hidden—injustices of our time. I learned about the true horror of China’s One-Child Policy. How mothers were dragged out of their hiding place, forced onto the abortion table with long needles of poison injected into their babies’ heads through their bellies. Each day, over 35,000 Chinese babies suffer death through forced and coerced abortions. I saw how mothers committed suicide after enduring such horrible traumas. All they could do was to turn their anger and helplessness into themselves. Each day 500 women in China take their own lives.


I learned how families take the matter of the One-Child Policy into their own hands, to abort and kill 1 out of every 6 daughters to make room for sons. Now there are 37 million missing women in China. The lack of women means that thousands of girls are kidnapped into sex slavery. Meanwhile, one third of the families suffer domestic violence. How can 400 million babies disappear and the entire world remain silent, except for a few?


My heart burned with pain and I knew I had to act. In fear and trembling, we launched All Girls Allowed in 2010. God gave me a very small but faithful team. We had few resources, except a copy of the Bible in each of our hands, and every morning we lifted up the name of Jesus in prayer. It was like what David said as he faced Goliath: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (1 Samuel 17:45) We went into battle to restore life, value, and dignity for girls and mothers in China, and to expose the injustice of the One-Child Policy. God blessed us with miracle after miracle: mothers were freed from prison, babies were saved from forced abortions, and family planning officials repented and began rescuing baby girls.


Standing in front of you today, I can testify that what the Bible says is true, trustworthy and powerful if we dare to walk it, live it and breathe it. Today, God still parts the Red Sea; He will end the One-Child Policy in China soon. He is transforming the people of China to seek after Him, raising an army of believers to spread the gospel. God is redeeming China to be a blessing to the world.


I was broken, but now I’m set free.


With all these great victories, one may think we Jesus followers are all invincible super heroes. Far from that, we are all flesh and blood; we carry our pains and sorrows into the ministry and our lives. Each time we achieve a great victory, the next thing we experience is a painful attack from the evil one, using some of our brokenness and suffering in the past.


But God has sent his son Jesus to us to preach the good news, to heal the broken-hearted, and to deliver the captives. He cares far more about who we are than what we can do for Him.


Recently God used evil for good in my life: He turned a massive attack by the enemy into an extraordinary time for me to encounter Him through two faithful believers from IHOP.


I asked God where He was in each stage of my life: “Where were you when I felt my father was so severe and intimidating?”


God showed me a picture of my bike ride to the seashore with my father, which was a favorite childhood memory. The sun was setting, the sea was gleaming and the sea gulls were singing. God said, “I was the one that was riding the bike with you. You were the little girl who held My hands and danced with Me.”


I asked Him, “Where were you when my mom passed away when I was in exile, when I didn’t even know about her death until a month later?”


God said, “I was with you, wiping your tears. I am your mother, I am your mother, who will never leave you and never forsake you. Your mother is with Me waiting to be reunited with you.”


I asked God where He was when I was in that cargo box escaping China.


God said, “I was with you in that box. You did not sit on a wooden board but on My lap. I was protecting you like a father holding a child. My arms held you tightly, and My body was big and strong. Anyone who wanted to hurt you had to break My body first. Remember how your mother used to look at your face in sleep with awe and amazement? That was how I looked at you. I was delighted, watching you sleep in My protection. I did not want to let you go….”


God opened my eyes to a picture of a 12-week-old unborn baby, and taught me that abortion was killing His children. Sorrow and pain broke out in my heart because I had four abortions as a young woman. I remembered back to the last abortion in Paris, when I was lying down in the recovery room. I remembered sensing a face in the air; it turned away from me, and the whole room felt empty. I couldn’t stop thinking about that memory. I felt ashamed, that God would never love me or cherish me.


But this past September, I prayed for God’s forgiveness and asked God how he felt about the whole situation. God said, “My heart was grieved. But My love towards you never stopped. While you were unconscious in the operation, I was on the ceiling of the surgery room, watching every move of the doctor and nurses, making sure you were safe. Child, even when you broke My heart, I still loved you. The face in the air that turned away from you…that was not Me.” It was at that moment, after 23 years, that the crushing memory of the face in the air disappeared forever.


This is the God we love, this is the God we serve, this is the God we follow, this is the God who sent His own Son to die for us so we could be forgiven, healed, and set free. Our God does not condemn we who are in Christ Jesus. He loves, He loves. He sacrificially, patiently loves us.


But God is not done yet. He does not just want to heal the wounds and make peace through repentance; He also wants to empower us to forgive and bring justice to the oppressed. For me, it got ugly before it got better.


After I escaped from China, I moved into an apartment at Princeton. There I experienced a sexual assault—rape at the hand of a widely-known Chinese man. After all I had been through, this shook me in a way that the international manhunt never did. The violence overwhelmed me. The shame, anger and humiliation were so great I just wanted to die.


But years later, even in this, I have experienced God’s healing. I see now how two decades ago, the devil used the words and affiliations of my attacker to put a wall of separation between me and the Lord, a wall of separation between me and fighting the One-Child Policy, and a wall of separation between me and believing I could overcome the injustices in this world. I cried out to God in the depth of my soul: “Why me? Why would you, an all-loving God, allow this to happen to your daughter?!” The devil made me feel helpless, defeated, ashamed and self-hating. This is how vicious sexual violence is and why our enemy uses it over and over again against women. But then came the gentle and clear voice of Jesus:


“Ling, over those two decades, there wasn’t a minute that I didn’t miss you. You too had a bitter cup to bear that has led you to a ministry to help save our Father’s children. That is why I am here for you”, said our loving Lord. “I don’t want you to just restore life value and dignity for the girls and women in China, I also want to restore the stolen life, value and dignity for that little girl inside of you. You are no longer a victim, but My precious bride. All beautiful you are. Ask Me anything, it shall be given to you. Come sit with Me in the heavenly realm, for I have redeemed you. You are no longer powerless to stop this man, because all the power in heaven, on earth and under the earth has been given to you. This is to our Father’s glory. As for this man, forgive him.”


My attacker?? I could not believe what I was hearing. I asked, “How could I forgive him? He hurt me physically.” But Jesus reminded me: “See, they hurt Me physically too. I forgave them even as they were hurting Me.” That moment, I saw the figure of Jesus on the cross, His body pierced and blood coming all the way down to His feet. I bowed at his feet and kissed Him. In tears I said, “For you Jesus, I shall forgive. I love you!”


It may seem counterintuitive to offer forgiveness before receiving justice, but Jesus did. It’s the most powerful thing we can do. God honors our forgiveness; that is how He begins healing us and gives us the truth that sets us free. Each time I forgave, I felt that a piece of my heart was being made more whole; and I grew closer to our Savior Jesus who endured the ultimate attack but still forgave. I experienced the Father’s heart for me to heal and for the man who attacked me to come to true salvation. I would love to welcome you to my two seminars, Ending Gendercide, for God wants to meet you, brothers and sisters, to take your hurts, your pain, your sorrows, and give you His peace in return.


From now on, my ministry will no longer be a manifestation of my own pain, motivated by a desire to help victims and thereby “self-medicate”, alleviating my own hurt. Instead, it will flow from pure joy and victory that comes from Jesus. It shall no longer just be called All Girls Allowed, but with an added focus: In Jesus’ name, simply love her!


(Image credit: Paul Walsh)

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