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Chinese native shares personal story, outlook on America

October 4, 2012 : Liberty University News Service

Special guest Dr. Sasha Gong, an expert on Chinese and United States relations, answered the question, “Will America win in the (economic) competition against China?” for students at Liberty University Convocation on Sept. 28.

As an immigrant to the United States from the People’s Republic of China in 1987, Gong spoke from personal experience. Before coming to America to escape political persecution, she worked in a mechanics factory and spoke openly about democracy, which resulted in a year of imprisonment by the Chinese government when she was 20 years old. She refers to that year as “a badge of honor.”

Gong came to the United States a few years later, earning her Ph.D. from Harvard University. She has lectured at George Washington University and UCLA. She tells her story of escaping political persecution and achieving personal freedom in America in her book, “Born American: A Chinese Woman’s Dream of Liberty.” She is also the author of “The Cultural Revolution Cookbook.”

In Convocation, Gong offered insight into American exceptionalism and said the U.S. must not lose the values like freedom, the private sector, and creative individuals who make the country great.

“Immigrants come with a dream of freedom. When you come with a dream of freedom, you build. That is value. Value is the foundation for nation building,” Gong said.

Citing history, Gong concluded that after the Chinese communist dictator Mao Zedong died in 1976, the government gave the people “a little bit of freedom” which resulted in great economic growth. She said if China “adopts all of our values of freedom and democracy” then they will succeed.

She said she believes America “will only lose when we lose our values — our values of freedom, liberty, entrepreneurship, our dream,” Gong said.

Gong’s visit to Liberty last week was not her first. As chief of the China branch for Voice of America, the broadcasting network of the United States government, she and her filming crew conducted an interview with Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. on religion and politics in America shortly after Commencement in May. Voice of America is the biggest broadcasting network in the world, now in 44 languages. It is currently planning more projects that may include Liberty, to be broadcast in Chinese in the coming year.

Gong has also stayed connected with Liberty through her fiancé, who graduated with a degree from Liberty University Online and is pursuing a master’s degree.