In the second part of our interview with author Chai Ling, Ling shares hopes for the readers of A Heart for Freedom, the heartbreak of China’s one-child policy, and goals for how All Girls Allowed can change this policy.
Vyrso: How do you hope to challenge the readers of your memoir, A Heart for Freedom?
Chai Ling: To me, the most gripping and moving part of the whole journey was the second I came to faith in Jesus—well, and every day since that first moment I met Him! I hope that the hopelessness of a world that kills its own children while others look away, the sadness of 400 million lives snuffed out by an evil government policy, the despair of these 500 women a day who commit suicide, will prompt hearts to look up to the only One who can bring hope.
I also hope that readers will consider their own lives and their own role in this movement to love girls and mothers. This is a historical movement and we were created for such a time as this. There is a place for everyone in the movement, from teenagers and soccer moms, to presidents and pastors. When 400,000,000 lives have already been lost and there is no plan to change this problem, it’s time to consider what God has in store of each of us.
Vyrso: Part of the enforcement of the one-child policy is forced or coerced abortions. Do you see a connection between this and the fact that suicide is the #1 cause of death among young women in China?
Chai Ling: We know that suicide rates have risen sharply among women ever since the policy began. China has the highest rates of female suicide on earth. When a woman is not allowed to control her own body, when full-term infants are aborted at birth or abandoned, when women are pressured to have sons but continue to bear daughters (and are then divorced by their husbands), they become hopeless.
In desperation, some women have come forward to share their stories of up to 5 or 6 forced abortions. Others were sterilized by force and can never bear children again. Suicide as the only way out has become a choice for millions of women, 500 a day in China. Thought control is enforced and the freedom to think is challenged. We cannot expect women to be able to bear this heavy a load without finally taking drastic measures in some desperate attempt of escape. My heart breaks for these 500 women today, 500 tomorrow, and the next 500 who do not have hope.
Vyrso: What is your vision for how All Girls Allowed can possibly change China’s one-child policy?
Chai Ling: You know, when we first started, there was skepticism about how much $20 a month could do to save lives in China. Yet as we send Chinese field workers to the villages with the highest rates of gender imbalance, and we encourage mothers to have girls—we are seeing amazing transformation in China.
We even had mothers tell us that they hoped to have girls and that their neighbors were envious and wanted girls. After we began to see families keep girls and love their daughters in these villages, we found scholarly research from Harvard University about gender ratios and financial incentives. The research said that offering financial incentive is the only way to reverse this cultural problem.
We also think that our work on Capitol Hill and in exposing the human rights abuses caused by the one-child policy to media and world leaders, is not in vain. We’ve seen great headway so far.
Vyrso: How can people get involved in the vision of All Girls Allowed?
Chai Ling: There are many ways to get involved.
- Write a letter to a local or national newspaper about gendercide and All Girls Allowed.
- Write a blog post about gendercide and All Girls Allowed.
- Comment on a discussion forum that you are part of.
Organize 37 Seconds of Silence to remember the 37 million missing girls in China. Hold it at your church or school or with your sports team, book club, women’s group and place of work. Register for a 37 Seconds Kit and receive a complete set of instructions and materials.
Hold an event of any scale to fundraise for our programs on the ground in China. For ideas of how to fundraise, visit the website and download the All Girls Allowed Events Kit.
If you are inspired by the work of All Girls Allowed and those we serve, create a video, take photographs, or design graphics that we can use in our publicity materials. Send completed work to Vicky@allgirlsallowed.org.
We believe prayer is the most important part of our work. As a team we pray daily for God to move on behalf of China. Interested parties may sign up on the website at www.AllGirlsAllowed.org.
We at Vyrso cannot thank Chai Ling enough for this inspirational, challenging interview. You can download her memoir, A Heart for Freedom: The Remarkable Journey of a Young Dissident, Her Daring Escape, and Her Quest to Free China’s Daughters at Vyrso.com!