This English translation was originally published on the China Partnership Blog on March 29, 2019, and is replicated here with permission. We thank Hannah, Brent, and the China Partnership translation team for their work.
The following excerpts were originally published in The Paper. In his article, Gao Biye, a post-doctoral scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Sociology, explains the difficulty that China’s current social policies pose for women who choose to give birth and raise their children as single mothers. Here, we are given a glimpse into the plight of this “invisible group” of moral outcasts, despised by society and penalized by the law.
As we pray for women in the Chinese church this week, we invite you to take a moment to also pray for these single mothers and their children. Read through the following article excerpts and then pause to pray according to the provided points and according to the Spirit’s leading.
Ultimately, pray that the Chinese church would not be outdone in kindness, but rather that it would be a channel of Christ’s love for the lost and true hope for the sinner.
Excerpts from Chinese Sociologist Gao Biye
“For the most part, China does not yet have demographic data regarding single mothers. There are many reasons for this. First, this group is considered ‘illegal’ in Chinese society for violating the state’s family planning policy. Therefore, they are not officially recognized. Second, some tend to hide their identity as unmarried mothers. Moreover, these identities are subject to change. After meeting compatible partners, they may tie the knot and become married women. In order to shed light on the circumstances these mothers are dealing with, I conducted in-depth field research among them from 2014 to 2015…
Most single mothers refused my invitation. One commented, ‘Each time we talk about this, we have to walk through the pain, anger, and hurt again. We have come a long way to finally reach some peace.’ The words of this single mother demonstrate why this group chooses to remain silent. As for those who did the interview with me, many broke down in tears during our phone calls. As a result of their choice to give birth, they have suffered legal punishment, moral shame, and financial hardship. Each time they narrate their experiences, they are reminded of the heartbreak.
The single mothers I contacted live in different cities in China. I do not know their real names or what they look like. Many even refused to tell me their birthplace and current residence. But through their words, I could sense their kindness, their struggle, and their bravery. Through deep conversations with these single mothers, I discovered how government policies, financial stress, and social discrimination have made their lives extremely difficult.”
Prayer Points (China Partnership):
- Secular wisdom does not know the path of grace. It is either blind to human sinfulness or it despises the sinner. Ask God to raise up his church to care for single mothers in Christ-honoring ways, ministering to them in grace and truth.
- Praise God for stories of courage – stories of single mothers choosing the hard way of giving birth. May they come to know the saving power of Christ and learn to walk in newness of life.
- Ask God to give single mothers more courage to speak out about their stories so that the church may become more aware of their needs.