Tiananmen Square: Chai Ling
Chai Ling is an interesting figure as she had the makings of impassioned leader and was very dedicated to the protests in Tiananmen Square, almost to an extreme. Chai Ling was very educated and in the process of trying to get a master’s degree in China around the time of the protests (1). She would join the Democracy Movement and became an important leader in Tiananmen Square as she rallied those around her and pushed for her cause (1). Interestingly she seemed to have a bought of paranoia during this time period as well and tried to root out as traitors those “…who advocated compromise or who wanted to leave the square… (1).” Eventually after the events in Tiananmen Square ended she made her way to the west and eventually to the United States to become a businesswomen (1).
What I find interesting about this story is that Chai Ling was a reformist from the late 20th century of China who survived a traumatic experience, the crackdown of Tiananmen Square, and then escaped arrest to make her way to the west so that she could then get involved in business. It is just one of those stories that you don’t think about happening. To go from trying to bring about extreme reforms in China to finding your way to the West to become involved in business, presumably ending up successful as well, is quite an interesting ending to this story. It certainly was not what I was expecting when I began reading about Chai Ling. Undoubtedly though it shows her own drive to bring her goals to fruition. Another interesting aspect is that due to this being a story that stretches into the 21st century there is plenty of information to be found out there on the web including uploaded speeches on YouTube that were published rather recently. Note that the comments on the video talk about the movie The Gate of Heavenly Peace which is mentioned in the reading, note that some of these comments obtain obscenities and they all seem to have a negative opinion of Chai Ling which falls in line with the reading which said that she has become a very controversial figure (1).
(1) R. Keith Schoppa, East Asia: Identities in the Modern World | 1700 to Present, (New Jersey: Pearson), 429.
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chai_Ling#/media/File:Chai_Ling.JPG (Image)