Thank you for joining in prayer! There is a lot to remember and pray for this month. Actually, I’ve shared far more here than I meant to, in order to give context to the prayer requests. But if you don’t have time to read, please skip to the “Prayer Notes” at the end.
June 1 was Children’s Day in Mainland China. Although it is truly a day for the nation to celebrate children, the sad reality is that the number of Chinese children (0 to 17 years old) has been decreasing for many years. Shanghai now has 0.7 births per woman, the lowest fertility rate of any major city in the world. Other major Chinese cities also have very low birth rates, which will create many social problems in the coming years.
Among the problems will be a massive increase in housing prices
. Whenever households have fewer children, they have more money available–for rent. This creates a vicious cycle that makes bearing and raising children even more difficult.
Birth limit will probably end for married couples
In some more positive news, there have been rumours that China’s birth limit will be lifted by next year
. My guess is that that married couples will be allowed to give birth without legal restrictions. (I haven’t heard anything about whether birth certificates will be given to unmarried women, or to married women whose husband doesn’t want the child.)
History and Harm of the Family Planning Policy
It has been 40 years since China implemented its Family Planning Policy (计划生育, previously called the “One-Child Policy”, and now the “Two-Child Policy”). It was instituted in 1978 as an emergency measure to avoid the devastation of a potential “population bomb”. The “bomb” never exploded, because overpopulation was never the problem
Tragically, the Family Planning Policy has created more social problems than it solved, with massive devastation to Chinese families, marriages, and society. And, the policy was not successful. When the policy began, many world leaders believed that there was not enough food for everybody. But new agricultural techniques created in the 1970’s have made famine entirely avoidable in every country. That means that since the Family Planning Policy started in 1978, no famine in the world has been caused by overpopulation
Environmental concerns also helped inspire the Family Planning Policy, because of the belief that fewer children means less pollution. This makes sense, except that that the data shows a moderately inverse relationship between fertility and carbon emissions, more children means less pollution.
In general, nations with low birth rates pollute many times more than nations with high birth rates. For example, the average Nigerian family has 5 children, while the average Canadian family has 1.6 children. But Canada’s per capita carbon emissions are 30 times higher than Nigeria’s.
In general, big families waste less than small families–and they also learn how to share, an important family value that many Chinese children never had the chance to learn.
So, there are not “too many” Chinese children. But sadly, nobody knows how many children there really are in China
. It is often illegal to register births (although many parents who have given birth illegally will eventually pay fines and be allowed to register their children later). This also means that the Family Planning Policy has created a numerically impossible situation, where there are fewer 1-year olds than 10-year olds.
I need to stop here, because there are endless social phenomena to discuss related to China’s Family Planning Policy. But our priority must be to pray, because only God can save and heal a nation!
“Don’t Abort on Children’s Day” （儿童节不要堕胎）
June 1 was also Day 40 of a pro-life prayer initiative led by Jonny Fan of the “Don’t Abort on Children’s Day” network. Because June 1 is Children’s Day, it is the perfect day for public pro-life activism in China (it is also the only day they do this). The pro-life network in several cities across China stood outside abortion centers and educated the public on the reality of abortion. Thanks be to God, they were free to do their activities without any interference or problems!
HONG KONG NEWS
In the Roman Catholic Church, May 31 is “The Visitation”, in remembrance of Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, when John the Baptist leapt in the womb in the presence of Jesus (Luke 1:41–this is a beautiful passage and worth the time to reflect upon).
Hong Kong’s Catholic bishop decided last year that May 31 would be the annual “Pro-Life Day” for the Catholic Church in Hong Kong. I’m very happy to see some Catholic churches beginning to develop pro-life activities and interest groups.
I recently met with Kevin Lai of the DPCMF (Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and the Family). The DPCMF–especially Connie Chan, who runs their Pro-Life Ministry–has done invaluable work in building the pro-life network in Hong Kong’s Catholic Church. They are currently considering taking on the giant task of a 40 Days for Life campaign. Please pray that God will lead them in this decision, and that all of their projects will bear much fruit for the saving of lives in Hong Kong and beyond.
Also, I have a great opportunity to share office space with a ministry in Sheung Shui. To move forward with projects for Asia for Life, it is really important for me to have accessible and affordable office space. This has never been an option, until now.
And we also continue to join the 52-week prayer project for Hong Kong (led by Gloria Au Yeung). This week’s prayer focus is for kids with special needs
Let us pray!
- For Chinese men to be willing to sacrifice whatever is needed for the lives and well-being of their children, especially during this month when China celebrates Children’s Day and Father’s Day.
- For the families of China’s provincial and national leaders to be blessed and to have God’s wisdom. And also that in these families, the hearts of the generations will turn towards each other in trust and acceptance.
- For China’s laws about abortion to agree with God’s law.
- For churches to be willing to speak clearly and Biblically on abortion, as well as on other issues of justice and compassion.
- For the work of China’s young and growing pro-life network, to be strengthened in grace and wisdom, so that they can effectively communicate the pro-life message to churches and society, and also accompany many moms and families in choosing life for their child.
- For the 40 Days for Life campaign in Hong Kong, that God will give wisdom to the DPCMF team about whether/how to move forward.
- For the work of Asia for Life, especially for funding, and for divine connections for the Youth Pro-Life Education Initiative and other pro-life projects.
- For kids with special needs in Hong Kong.