This Sunday marks the 31st anniversary of China's one-child policy. Created for the purpose of improving social, economic, and environmental problems in the country, it was supposed to end in 2010. Instead, believing it has contributed to China's economic prosperity, the government has decided to keep it in place indefinitely.
Economics aside, the policy, combined with China's strong preference for sons over daughters, has most definitely contributed to a multitude of horrific practices, leading to the loss of millions of girls through abortion, prenatal sex selection, infanticide, abandonment, and trafficking.
In June 2010, a woman named Chai Ling founded All Girls Allowed, a humanitarian organization devoted to restoring life, value, and dignity to girls and mothers in China.
"As Christians, our only reaction should be deep sadness and outrage that leads to desperate prayer," says Ling. "We are standing up to a massive communist government and saying that every baby deserves to live. This is God giving us an opportunity to pray more desperately than we ever have before."
This coming Sunday, on this deadly anniversary, churches around the world will watch a short video produced by All Girls Allowed (see below) and pause to pray for China and the 37 million girls who have been lost since the policy was implemented in 1980.
When asked why this anniversary is so significant, Ling starts with basic math: "You know, the policy was only supposed to last 30 years, and already China says they have 'prevented' more than 400 million lives. Many scholars and experts have said that China will fall apart unless the policy is not only abolished, but education and effort is put into reversing some of the effects of the policy, like China's massive gender imbalance and aging problems."
But with the anniversary being on a Sunday this year, Ling goes beyond the arithmetic, issuing a call for Christians to take notice and pray more desperately and helplessly than ever before. She reminds us that this is an issue we really can't do anything about, even if we had billions of dollars or a bill passed. It is going to take prayer to stop China's one-child policy.