Yesterday brought some disappointing news in the battle against China’s brutal One-Child Policy—and with it a renewed sense of urgency to all of our prayers.
On Sunday, a reporter at the 12th National People’s Congress in Beijing asked Wang Feng, an official spokesman, about potential changes to the One-Child Policy. Other officials had already hinted at changes that might relax the policy. What is more, public opposition to the policy in China has grown bolder than ever this year.
But according to Xinhua, Mr. Wang said that “the Chinese government will keep its family planning policy unchanged,” citing concerns about limited resources.
While the government will undergo some restructuring that could significantly impact enforcement of the One-Child Policy (read below for details), it appears that the basic goal of restricting a majority of families to a single child will remain in place unless delegates at the National People’s Congress overwhelmingly and publicly voice concern during the deliberations over these proposals this week. If the proposals stand, then women in China will likely continue to face involuntary sterilizations, IUD insertions, and coerced abortions.
This is disappointing, to be sure. Yet we know that our Father heard your prayers last Tuesday—he promises to bring deliverance, even if China’s leaders remain blind to the human cost of the One-Child Policy.
“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13 ESV)
The reports from yesterday worth grieving over because China’s new leadership had a natural opportunity to end the policy during this year’s government shift. They had a chance to not only stand for China’s best interests (the One-Child Policy is causing massive, long term demographic concerns), but to stand up on behalf of China’s most vulnerable people: the impoverished mothers and infant girls who suffer the worst consequences of the One-Child Policy.
Please hold these women and children in your prayers. We long for them to be free, and we do know that the Lord will free them from the burden of the One-Child Policy.
Chai Ling said, “Just as he brought the enslaved Israelites out of Egypt and through the Red Sea, God will demonstrate his love for women in China. He will free them to welcome children without fear. Remember that Pharoah’s heart was hardened to the plight of the Israelites—and this only served to bring God greater glory. If the leaders of China are hard-hearted, if they will not take part in delivering their people from the One-Child Policy, then God will bring deliverance in a greater way. We pray earnestly for that day of deliverance to come soon!”
Thank you for your continued prayers—please lift up the delegates’ deliberations this week. These deliberations are known for being a mere formality, but we are hoping that delegates opposed to the One-Child Policy will find an extra measure of courage and speak boldly.
(Image: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
Ma Kai, secretary-general of the State Council, gave a report listing the proposed changes to the way China enforces its family planning policy:
- The National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC), which both controls the details of the One-Child Policy and enforces it, will be merged with the Ministry of Health. From China Daily, a government-affiliated outlet:
The integration of the two ministerial-level departments is aimed at better upholding the basic national family planning policy, improving medical and health care services and deepening institutional reform in the medical care and public health sectors, State Councilor Ma Kai said in a report to the country's national legislature.
“It also aims to optimize the resource allocation of medical care and public health services and that of family planning services, as well as improve the health of the people, including newborns,” said Ma, who is also secretary-general of the State Council, in the report on the State Council institutional reform and transformation of government functions.
The proposed national health and family planning commission will be responsible for planning the resource allocation of medical care, public health and family planning services, establishing a basic medicine system to standardize drug prices, formulating China's family planning policy, and supervising and administering public health, medical care and family planning services, Ma said.
- The NPFPC will no longer control the specifics of family planning rules or set targets; instead, the National Development and Reform Commission will control the policy. This is probably the brightest point of this announcement; the NPFPC will no longer be able to set its own rules and enforce them at will. It would be hard to predict exactly what might come of the Development and Reform Commission’s guidance of the policy, but at least they might have a less vested interest in maintaining the strictest forms of policy enforcement.
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