This month, June 4, marked the 21st anniversary of the crackdown by the Chinese government on student protestor's in Tiananmen Square. Student protesters had hoped to bring freedom and democracy to China. But for one of the leaders, true freedom came much later through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The journey took more than 20 years for Chai Ling. It began in 1989 when she was a leader in the massive student movement that dominated Tiananmen Square.
"It was just a beautiful time of people coming out of their shell and being free and full of joy and love for each other," Ling recalled.
But then she saw her companions die as tanks crushed their movement and China killed its young people by the thousands.
"They used their own flesh and bodies, blocking the tanks and trying to protect us," she said of her peers.
"When the tanks and troops moved in, I just could not believe it," Ling continued. "That a moment of love and care and no violence [was] being encountered with the brutal tanks and troops."
Even during the massacre, she said the students' hearts were still filled with love. Ling managed to flee the violence, but was hunted by authorities until she finally escaped China in a crate.
"I was put on the most-wanted list and I had to escape from China," she said. "We were put into a cargo box. The journey was only supposed to be eight hours, but it ended up lasting much longer."
Finding True Freedom
For two decades Ling built a life in America, but was spiritually adrift until she attended a Capitol Hill hearing about forced abortions under China's one-child policy.
"While I was mourning for what happened 20 years ago at the Tiananmen massacre, what I didn't realize was a massacre was happening everyday because of the one-child policy against women and children -- the most vulnerable members of society," she said.
The revelation hurt Ling's heart so much, she turned in desperation to God.
"I knelt down in the corner of my office and invited the Lord into my heart, to guide my life, and to forgive all my sins," she said.
"Now I'm free," Ling continued. "I feel like I've finally found home."
Now, her faith has led her to try to bring God's love to China and to end the one-child policy
"Everyday there are more than 35,000 abortions taking place in China -- 35,000," Ling stressed.
"This is a tragedy that needs to come to an end," she added. "I feel God's heart is feeling appalled and outraged at this crime."
*Originally broadcast on June 25, 2010.