Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cradle Robbing in China

Zhou Yuwei poster from the 1980s promoting China's one-child policy

Stefan R. Landsberger's Chinese Propaganda Poster Collection

The world is so full of suffering that, to a large extent, we have to blind ourselves to it just to function. One of the most heart rending tragedies is to lose a child, especially one's only child.

The Chinese government's economically stupid and morally horrific policy of allowing families only one child has played itself out in various predictable ways. Because of the Chinese preference for boys on account of issues related to dowries, inheritance, and old age security, not only have people been killing and abandoning their baby girls, they are now stealing other people's baby boys.

The New York Times reports this in "Chinese Hunger for Sons Fuels Boys' Abductions" (Apr. 4, 2009).

The government is no help in providing the basic service that it is ordained to provide (1 Peter 2:14). "In case after case, they said, the police insisted on waiting 24 hours before taking action, and then claimed that too much time had passed to mount an effective investigation."

Several parents, through their own guile and persistence, have tracked down surveillance video images that clearly show the kidnappings in progress. Yet even that can fail to move the police, they say. “They told me a face isn’t enough, that they need a name,” said Cai Xinqian, who obtained tape from a store camera that showed a woman leading his 4-year-old away. “If I had a name, I could find him myself.”
"[T]he police prefer not to even open a missing person’s inquiry because unsolved cases make them appear inefficient, reducing their annual bonuses." There's an interesting incentive system. Bonuses that actually discourage people from doing their jobs faithfully.

Meanwhile, the government expects people to love the state more than they love their own children. "Last September, about 40 families traveled to the capital to call attention to the plight of abducted children. They staged a brief protest at the headquarters of the national television broadcaster, but within minutes, dozens of police officers arrived to haul them away. “They dragged us by our hair and said, ‘How dare you question the government,’ ” said Peng Dongying, who lost her 4-year-old son."

“There is a hole in our hearts that will never heal,” said one father who could be any of these grieving parents.

Oddly enough, in this ostensibly communist country, there is no "real social safety net" that would obviate the need security that a son is supposed to provide.

With this tragedy in mind, it would be well for us to consider on this Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday that God "gave his one and only Son" (John 3:16) to save us from the self-absorption that leads people to do behave this way and--let's be honest--that is in all of us in one God-denying, neighbor-sacrificing form or another.

John 3:16-17: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

1 John 4:9-10: "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."