Chai Ling

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Chai Ling
Chai Ling.JPG
Chai Ling (2009)
Born (1966-04-15) April 15, 1966 (age 53)
Rizhao, Shandong, China
Alma mater Peking University
Beijing Normal University
Princeton University (MLA)
Harvard Business School (MBA)
Occupation President & Chief Operating Officer of Jenzabar
Spouse(s) Feng Congde
Robert Maginn

Chai Ling (Chinese: 柴玲; Pinyin: Chái Líng) (born April 15, 1966 in Rizhao, Shandong Province, People's Republic of China) was one of the student leaders in the Tian'anmen Square massacre of 1989. Today she is Founder of All Girls Allowed, an organization dedicated to ending China`s One-Child Policy, and the founder and President of Jenzabar, an enterprise resource planning software firm for educational institutions.


Chai was born on April 15, 1966 in Rizhao, in Shandong province, China. Both Chai’s mother and father had been doctors in the People’s Liberation Army during the 1950s.[1] Chai is the eldest of four children.[2][3] In 1983, Chai Ling began her education at Peking University where she eventually earned a BA in psychology.[4] In Beijing, she met and married Feng Congde, another student leader, in 1988, a relationship that later ended in a divorce.[5] In 2001, Chai Ling married Robert Maginn, whom she met while both worked at the management consulting firm Bain and Company.[6] They reside together in the United States,[7] where they have three daughters.[7] In 2009, Chai converted to Christianity.[8]

Protest and exile

Chai's fellow students selected her to command the student democracy movement during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[8] During the demonstrations, Chai, with other dissidents such as Wang Dan organized and participated in a hunger strike of forty that became many thousands before it came to an end, [9] Protesters and observers later noted her as one of the more radical student leaders.[10] Ultimately, the military ended the protests on June 4, 1989 with bloodshed, and the Chinese government listed Chai as one of the 21 most wanted students.[11] After escaping from China through Hong Kong,[10] she proceeded to Paris, France. She eventually accepted a full scholarship to Princeton University, for which she moved to the United States end[11]

Later career

After this, she worked as a junior consultant at Bain and Company, a leading strategic consulting firm, during 1993–1996 in its Boston office. She left to pursue an MBA at Harvard Business School and matriculated in 1998.[12]

That year, Chai founded an Internet company called Jenzabar. Jenzabar provides ERP software to universities across the United States of America.[13] She has been President since founding Jenzabar and Chief Operating Officer since 2001.[14]

In June 2010, Chai Ling started a nonprofit called "All Girls Allowed" with the aim of stopping the human rights violations related to the One-Child Policy.[15]

In 2011, Tyndale Publishers released A Heart for Freedom: The Remarkable Journey of a Young Dissident, her Daring Escape, and her Quest to Free China's Daughters.[16]

Chai has been called to testify before Congress 8 times, most recently on Jun 3, 2013. Her testimony has mainly related to Human Rights Issues in China.[17]


Documentary controversy

Footage from a documentary titled The Gate of Heavenly Peace, shows viewers parts of an interview between Chai and reporter Philip Cunningham from May 28, 1989, a week prior to the Tiananmen Square Incident. In the footage, Chai makes the following statements:

All along I've kept it to myself, because being Chinese I felt I shouldn't bad-mouth the Chinese. But I can't help thinking sometimes -- and I might as well say it -- you, the Chinese, you are not worth my struggle! You are not worth my sacrifice!
What we actually are hoping for is bloodshed, the moment when the government is ready to brazenly butcher the people. Only when the Square is awash with blood will the people of China open their eyes. Only then will they really be united. But how can I explain any of this to my fellow students?
"And what is truly sad is that some students, and famous well-connected people, are working hard to help the government, to prevent it from taking such measures. For the sake of their selfish interests and their private dealings they are trying to cause our movement to disintegrate and get us out of the Square before the government becomes so desperate that it takes action....
Interviewer: "Are you going to stay in the Square yourself?
Chai Ling: "No."
Interviewer: "Why?"
Chai Ling: "Because my situation is different. My name is on the government's blacklist. I'm not going to be destroyed by this government. I want to live. Anyway, that's how I feel about it. I don't know if people will say I'm selfish. I believe that people have to continue the work I have started. A democracy movement can't succeed with only one person. I hope you don't report what I've just said for the time being, okay?"

The footage has been verified by third-party media specialists as genuine, and is readily available online.[18] Chai, however, claims that she had been misquoted and that the footage used "interpretive and erroneous translation,” [19] and in reality the student leaders, including herself, had remained united and at the square until the very last hours of the protest.[19]

Chai and her firm have launched multiple lawsuits against the film's non-profit producers, the Long Bow Group. An initial suit, in which Chai alleged defamation, was summarily dismissed. An additional suit claimed that the organization infringed upon Jenzabar's trademark by mentioning the firm's name in the keyword meta tags and title tag for a page about Jenzabar on its website.[20] Her lawsuits were subsequently criticized by some commentators, including columnists for the Boston Globe and the New Yorker.[21][22] [23][24] In the end, each of her legal actions against the film were dismissed by the Massachusetts appeals court.[25][26] The Superior Court handed Jenzabar its comeuppance, which is a rare ruling — an award to defendants of more than $500,000 in attorney fees and expenses, "subjected Long Bow to protracted and costly litigation not to protect the goodwill of its trademark from misappropriation, but to suppress criticism of Jenzabar's principles and its corporate practices." in the ruling.[27]

Religious discrimination lawsuit against Jenzabar, All Girls Allowed and Chai Ling

Jing Zhang, a Chinese feminist activist, sued Jenzabar Inc., The Jenzabar Foundation, All Girls Allowed and their founder and Jing's former employer, Chai Ling.[28] Zhang had established her own nonprofit, Women’s Rights in China, when she joined forces with Chai to develop programs to prevent forced abortions in China. Then, she alleges, Chai fired her for being insufficiently religious and for declining to engage in “weekly corporate worship.” [29]


  1. Ling Chai, A Heart for Freedom. Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House, 2011 ISBN 978-1-4143-6246-5. P.11.
  2. Ling Chai, A Heart for Freedom. Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House, 2011 ISBN 978-1-4143-6246-5. P 11.
  3. Ling Chai, A Heart for Freedom. Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House, 2011 ISBN 978-1-4143-6246-5. P.3.
  4. Ling Chai, A Heart for Freedom. Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House, 2011 ISBN 978-1-4143-6246-5. P.15.
  5. Ling Chai, A Heart for Freedom. Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House, 2011 ISBN 978-1-4143-6246-5. P.235.
  6. Ling Chai, A Heart for Freedom. Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House, 2011 ISBN 978-1-4143-6246-5. P.268.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Outside of the Box, Robert A. Maginn: A learning environment, accessed March 22, 2014.
  8. 8.0 8.1 ChinaAid, Tiananmen Square Leader Chai Ling Embraces Christian Faith and Freedom, accessed March 19, 2014.
  9. Ling Chai, A Heart for Freedom. Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House, 2011 ISBN 978-1-4143-6246-5. P.129.
  10. 10.0 10.1
  11. 11.0 11.1 "All Girls Allowed". Retrieved July 11, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Business Week article from June 23, 1999 [1]." Chai Ling: From Tiananmen Leader to Entrepreneur Retrieved on December 7, 2008.
  13. " Jenzabar". Archived from the original on December 18, 2007. Retrieved December 29, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "About Jenzabar -Management Bios". Archived from the original on December 18, 2007. Retrieved November 6, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "About Chai Ling". Retrieved November 2, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Ling Chai, A Heart for Freedom. Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House, 2011 ISBN 978-1-4143-6246-5.
  17. "Biographical History of Ling Chai". Retrieved July 11, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "'The Gate of Heavenly Peace'".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. 19.0 19.1 Wang Dan, Defense for Chai Ling, accessed March 22, 2014.
  20. MacArtney, Jane (May 4, 2009). "Tiananmen activist Chai Ling sues makers of film about 1989 protest". The Times. London. Retrieved April 28, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Abraham, Yvonne (June 7, 2009). "Beijing lesson unlearned". The Boston Globe.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Letter from China: The American Dream: The Lawsuit: The New Yorker
  23. Chai Ling: Speech-Squelching Narcissistic Megalomaniac B*tch!
  24. Jenzabar Continues To Try To Censor Criticism Via Trademark Bullying
  29. "Learn more". The Boston Globe.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links