Ross and Christine Paterson's Blog

Reflections from Our Journey

Category: China News

Category: China News

Churches Under Lockdown In China

ChinaSource recently reached out to three church leaders in China, asking them to reflect on their experiences of “doing church” in the midst of the health crisis and quarantine. These are some of the many thoughts they shared:

Prayer. Churches came together to ask for 3 days of prayer and fasting at the height of the Wuhan crisis, obviously by on-line means. “Let’s come together with one heart and mind to pray for Wuhan, for China, and for the world.” “It is the early rain in the drought. Churches in China are very engaged in prayer these days (by online methods).”

Unity. “One of the greatest lifelines for me has been our citywide pastor’s network. We officially meet for prayer monthly, and this has continued online during the past two months. However, what has been especially helpful is our organic, sharing of notes, ideas, policies, etc. I appreciated so much the lack of territorialism or competition – the virus has only increased our ‘same team’ mindset.”

“We may have friends or find people in need through the internet who are impossible for us to pay in-person visits. We can probably invite a church closer to them to reach out.”

Training. “The crisis has also helped us identify potential leaders and cultivate discipleship ministry.” “In my opinion, online is not the best platform for evangelism. It is, however, great for training and mentoring, particularly for people with whom there is already a relationship.”

Online Meetings. “In our case, the senior pastor preaches online every Sunday and does training for the fellowship and small group leaders to equip them to reach out on behalf of the church.”

“We promised to meet people online in different forms, such as streaming simplified Sunday services, small groups, and fellowships. Thanks to the Lord for His creation of the internet that allows people to continue to engage with and encourage one another. It’s also been vital for lay leaders in using various forms of online media to take responsibility for caring for brothers and sisters.”

Giving. “One of the by-products of this experience has been that people are tithing more!”

Change: “Although the pandemic has slowed down, it has encouraged many Christians to ponder the question of why we have to face this challenge. Perhaps the Lord is determined to transform our way of life so that we will turn away from evil and back to Him.”

Evangelism. “Pray for gospel advancement. The goal is not survival, but that the crisis would allow the gospel to be implanted in a broader number of people.”

Pastoral work. “We’ve organised a ‘touch-base initiative', where the pastoral team touches base via social media with five people a day. It has been remarkable how it has opened up opportunities for conversation and prayer, and even led to giving to the church, since all of that has been done online as well.”

Source: “Salt in the Soup”. ChinaSource. Narci Herr

Prayer:

Take one or two of the areas mentioned above and pray that the Lord would apply those lessons to the churches in your country.

Pray for the churches in China as they emerge from the lock-down, that they might hold on to what the Lord said to them in the crisis and also know how to function as China slowly opens up.

Read More
The Wrong Topic

Matthew 24:37-41 gives a stark warning. “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”

Those verses have a powerful application to the Covid-19 pandemic. There are perhaps two major Corona topics in the media. The first is the extent of the pandemic, and its likely future direction. Thus South Korea, Iran, Italy, Spain and indeed Europe in general are the focus of attention and research at the time of writing. The second topic is that of the source of the virus, and here conspiracy theories flourish. Some point out the danger of the eating habits in the Wuhan markets, or to the proximity of China’s biological weapons facility in Wuhan. Chinese diplomats’ and others on the other hand are spreading theories that US troops brought the contagion to Wuhan last year.

Yet not many people, especially in the media, are asking the most important question: “What are You saying, Lord?” One praying friend felt the Lord said this to him: "I'm bringing mankind back to Me to show him his inadequacies.   I'm showing him that I am in control as Creator and not him.  I'm showing him the inadequacies of possessions - especially money.  I'm showing him that the important things in life are provided by My Creation - relationships (family); fresh air (environment), simplicity of life (slower paced lives).  I'm showing him that human knowledge and wisdom are inadequate when I move. What more does man require to show him his need to return to and acknowledge Me as Creator God?”

Those words are those of one spiritual brother. At the very least it is our responsibility to do what he did, and seek for the word of the Lord in this situation. But equally important is the need for men and women to even see the relevance and possibility of the Lord speaking today; that the lost world around us, including ourselves, would see the need to hear and respond to what the Lord is saying. Otherwise our generation will be like those in the days of Noah who “knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.” How dangerous that the men and women around us are constantly talking about the coronavirus, yet will not discuss the one topic that is most important – what is God saying to us today?

Pray that amongst those with a voice that is heard in the media there would be those who raise the issue of what the Lord is saying to our generation.

Pray for a humbling of the leaders in the east and the west to see the need to go beyond their own wisdom and solutions.

Pray for the multitude of overworked medical workers in the lands most impacted by the virus. Pray that the Lord in His mercy would grant a medical solution to the virus.

Read More
What Is The Lord Saying To The Chinese Church?

What Is The Lord Saying To The Chinese Church?

It is obvious to any who pray regularly for China that this is a difficult winter season for the church in China. There are two very harsh winds of suffering that our brothers and sisters in China face. The first is the impact of the coronavirus, especially on cities that are closed down, such as Wuhan or Wenzhou (at the time of writing) The second chill wind on the church is the intense crackdown by the Chinese authorities on the Christian church in China, one that has been continuing for several years, and has become even stricter in 2020. “In addition to widespread control of all community activities, the new measures in Febuary 2020 require religious personnel to support, promote and implement total submission to the Chinese Communist Party among all members of their communities.” (Professor Yang Fenggang, of Purdue University).

In an article entitled "Persecution: A Dangerous Opportunity For The Church In China?", Chen Jing (a pseudonym) sought to analyse what the Lord is saying in this difficult season. He says that a few years ago, when "Chinese churches were eager to learn from churches in the West and Korea, mega-churches in America and Korea became the dream, or model, for many urban churches in China.” It was argued that “the traditional house church model was increasingly no longer able to meet the needs of churches in 21st-century China.” Though some house church leaders "called the church to get out of the bubble of optimism and triumphalism and to prepare for an imminent crackdown from the government by dividing large congregations into smaller ones", they were generally, if not ignored, at least not heard.

But the current pressures have encouraged some leaders to "explore a truly genuine, sustainable, Chinese church model." One possible version of that would be the “tuan dui” (团队), "which is neither a large, single mega-congregation nor a denomination, but rather a web or family of many smaller house churches. This is a genuinely indigenous Chinese phenomenon.” Amongst house churches forced by persecution from the Chinese authorities to divide into smaller congregations, there is "a growing appreciation of the early church’s emphasis on discipleship rather than numbers and size." Thus "some Chinese church leaders are calling for the development of indigenous cell group theory and practice in their unique social context.”

Chen Jing also emphasises another requirement, which he regards as extremely significant: “The Chinese church’s re-appreciation or recovery of the Chinese house church trademark spirit of suffering and bearing the cross for Christ." The "triumphal spirit and complacent attitude" of recent years will be replaced by a "witness for Christ with humility, servanthood and sacrifice." Tellingly, Chen emphasises that "as Chinese churches are joining global missions, they need to bring this spirit with them.”

Chen concludes with this comment: "Can the current persecution be an opportunity as well as a danger to the church in China? I think we should be confident at this point to say ‘yes'. This happened in Biblical times and it's happening to the church in China of the 21st-century too."

Prayer topics:

  • Pray for Chinese church leaders on every level to have the time and space to wait on the Lord, and to hear what He is saying in this difficult season.
  • Pray for those leaders who are discouraged by the pressures that they face, that they would find new encouragement and strength to press on with the Lord Jesus.

Chen writes "we should show our solidarity with the Chinese church in their resistance and protest against and just pressure and crack-downs.” Ask the Lord to show you how He would have you follow that injunction, beginning especially with urgent prayer.

Read More
Drones And Prayers

The BBC recently carried a report from a Chinese newspaper headline that read: “China rewards fishers who netted foreign spy devices.” The story spoke of these fishing people hauling in an unusual catch. And more than one fisherman - the article spoke of 11 of them. What was the catch? It was underwater drones - seven devices in total. And this was not for the first time. Fishermen from Jiangsu had found “spy drones” in 2018, when some 18 fishermen were rewarded for finding 9 devices. The reward for each drone was up to $500,000 yuan (US$72,000) - around 17 times the average disposable income in China.

Why Jiangsu? It faces Japan and South Korea. An expert commented that they probably came from “the US Navy, the Japan Self-Defence Forces, or potentially Taiwan”. Other sources say that underwater drones can be used for tracking submarines from other navies, looking for and dealing with underwater bombs; deploying surveillance equipment and monitoring “undersea infrastructure”, such as communication cables. As such the underwater drones can be deployed for “months” and are “cheap enough to be considered expendable”. China itself had one of its own underwater drones caught by Indonesian fishermen a few months ago.

Such reports speak of military activities of which we, as ordinary citizens, know nothing. They are secret, known only to military and presumably political leaders. They are hidden activities.

Yet the praying Christian also has a hidden device of huge power - prayer. Derek Prince described intercession as an intercontinental ballistic missile - designed not to bring death, but to bring life; not destruction, but to build the kingdom of God. Prayer may be hidden, in the secret place, but its results are not.

History proves the power of intercession. During the second World War, God raised up in the UK an intercessor names Rees Howells. As news of Hitler’s advance came over the radio and in the newspapers each day, Rees and his company of intercessors would press into prayer for God’s purposes to prevail. “UK Royal Air Force pilots were outnumbered four to one at the beginning of the Battle of Britain. On all accounts, it should have been a losing battle. However, when the Nazi advance was mysteriously turned away when all hope seemed lost, Winston Churchill famously said of the small group of pilots who had maintained air supremacy: ‘Never has so much been owed by so many to so few’.” Actually the full debt was owed to the intercessors and the Lord who heard their prayers.

Rees Howells summed it up as follows: “I want to know that the Holy Spirit is stronger than the devil in the Nazi system. This is the battle of the ages, and victory here means victory for millions of people.”

With the crises in our world today mounting, (not the least with the coronavirus, trade tariffs, dangerous international relationships and much more) surely this is a time for Christians not to go fishing for hidden underwater drones but to flock to the place of power, the place of intercession. Please use this prayer letter as fuel for your prayers.

Pray that the Lord would raise up many labourers in the field of intercession.

Pray that the Lord would show you for what He wants you specifically to intercede.

Pray that leaders of the nations would be impacted by prayer in the choices they make.

Read More
Journalism, East and West

According to CNN on December 17th, 2019, China has issued an updated code of ethics for its journalists. The code calls on reporters to uphold the authority of the Communist Party and to be guided by the ideology of President Xi Jinping. CNN commented that though Chinese reporters working inside the country are used to operating “within a heavily-censored environment that is tightly controlled by Communist authorities”, yet this new code with “explicit reference to Xi is likely to sound alarm among freedom of speech advocates.”

The code “was last updated in 2009, three years before Xi came to power… In the decade since, media restrictions in China have tightened significantly amid ongoing efforts by Xi to consolidate his position as the country's most powerful leader since founder Mao Zedong.”

The Committee To Protect Journalists assesses that “at least 48 journalists have been imprisoned in China for a range of offences in the past 12 months” (in 2019), more than in 2018. The new code threatens a further increase in arrests for reporters in China, as it restrictively defines what their political mindset should be. “According to the code, journalists must ‘serve the people wholeheartedly’ and be loyal to ‘the Party, the motherland, and the people.’” To do this they must "persist in arming the mind with Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.” They must "firmly uphold the authority and centralised, unified leadership of the Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core” and "vividly interpret China's path, theory, system and culture when telling stories of China, (the) Communist Party of China, socialism with Chinese characteristics and Chinese people in order to let the world better understand China.” Chinese reporters' use of the internet is also included; they must "be good at using new technologies and new applications on the internet, and continuously improve the level of positive propaganda and guiding the public opinions on the internet.”

As Christians we need to be praying for reporters world-wide. The gulf now between East and West is extraordinary, yet in both cases the real or full facts may not be reported. In the USA and Europe there seems to be a code for some reporters to attack their current political leadership, attacks that often come from their own predefined political position, thus driving their own political agendas. This is done by reporting or interpreting only certain facts, not the objective truth. At the other end of the scale in China, it now seems to be illegal to criticise the administration or reveal the real facts if they are in any way negative. Both extremes do not serve the cause of genuine reporting, whose end is “to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments.” For that to be so, there needs to be honest and truthful reporting, in East and West, of the facts as they really are.

Pray for journalists in China, especially those who have been arrested for revealing facts that are considered to be unacceptable to the leadership, even if they are true.

Pray for the Lord to raise up more men and women of integrity in East and West to bring us the facts as they really are, facts that are not either concealed or reinterpreted by journalists before we read them.

Pray for more Christian journalists who have a Biblical perspective and interpretation of events, and for those Christians who are already working as journalists, that they might have both wisdom and courage.

Read More
Standing In The Gap In 2020

The weight on the shoulders of a national leader in our generation is huge. The issues that they have to deal with, the responsibilities they face, are heavy indeed. 1 Tim 2:1-4 commands us to pray for them: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made ... for kings and all who are in authority… For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

At the time of writing, the responsibilities on the shoulders of the Chinese leadership are almost impossibly heavy. Consider the following:

  1. The pork crisis in China. “China faces a huge shortage of pork – by far the country’s favourite meat – after losing about half of its pigs to African swine fever over the past 15 months. China’s pork production has plummeted an estimated 45%, while the price of pork soared 101% in October 2019.” The implications of that on China’s wider economic situation and on the sentiments of its people are obvious.
  2. Bubonic plague is back in the news after China reported three cases of the infectious disease in November 2019.
  3. The situation in Hong Kong. “In November 2019, nearly 3 million of Hong Kong's 4 million registered voters expressed their disapproval of the city’s current government in a decisive local election that gave the opposition and the protest movement a mandate to push against Beijing’s control.”
  4. The Xinjiang situation. 400 pages of secret internal party documents were leaked to reporters outside of China (almost certainly by a dissenter near to the Chinese leadership). They reveal the mass repression taking place against the Uighur people with irrefutable evidence of the imprisonment and the cruel mistreatment of up to 1 million Uighur people.
  5. Two simultaneous incidents in Australia. “Media reports in numerous outlets in late November claimed that a man who acted as a spy for China has offered intelligence information to Australia (about his activities in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia) and wants political asylum. Meanwhile, it was reported that a Melbourne-based car dealer had been offered a bribe by China to run as a parliamentary candidate, before he was found dead in March” (Bloomberg). His death is currently regarded as unexplained.
  6. The complexities of the trade war with the United States. Some experts say that neither side is currently willing to back down in any significant way.
  7. The proposed banning of Huawei Technologies Co. from helping build the new 5G telecommunications network on national security grounds – and other IT and technology related issues.
  8. All of that does not touch on the almost superhuman skills required to run a country as large and as complex as China.

For those of us who are Christians, it would seem almost incomprehensible that anyone would be able to carry the complexities of these responsibilities without a close prayer walk with the Lord Jesus. But that is a problem in most countries today, whether in the West or the East. If our leaders (including China's leaders) are not people who depend on the Lord, then surely we have the responsibility to stand in the gap for them, to pray that the Lord would lead them and direct them. As Christians, we surely have the privilege of seeking His face for China and for other nations, of taking the place of leaders, East and West, who have never understood that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Ezekiel 22:30 sums up our role: “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land…”

Pray for the leaders in China, that the Lord would guide them especially at this time of complex and difficult problems.

Pray for God-fearing people to be near the seat of power in our nations, including China - and that leaders would listen to them.

Pray specifically for the seven items listed above, or for new ones that have sprung up since these words were written!

Read More
A Dark Shadow Over China’s Students And Teachers

The Chinese government defined a new direction towards Christianity under the New Regulations of Religious Affairs that took effect in February 2018. One clear aspect of that is the laws that were directed against young people’s rights to have access to the Gospel and to church meetings. Whilst no policies in China are uniformly implemented across China’s vast territory, one of the main aims of the new legislation is to stop the growth of Christianity amongst China’s youth. Recent decades have seen significant numbers of young Chinese turn to Christ and become involved in church life and witness.

The current strategy is twofold:

Firstly, to teach openly as part of the school curriculum that Christianity is false and therefore to encourage children to attack their parents’ beliefs as false and even dangerous. In some cases even to press children to report on their believing parents. Schoolchildren are being taught through unprecedented measures that Christianity is an “evil cult”. Schools have held special meetings to teach children how to oppose religion.

“Before starting school, I told my child about God..., and he believed... But after being taught at school, my child is like a different person. In atheistic China, these pure and innocent children have been taught to hate God,” one Christian mother reported. Essentially, schools are grooming children to be atheists, teaching them that religion is “Xie jiao,” a Chinese expression that references anything that is heterodox and should not be trusted. Children are “taught to oppose their religious relatives” and that “believing in God is abnormal.” One young boy reportedly told his Christian mother, “My teacher says that… if you believe in Christianity, you will leave home and not take care of me. You might set yourself on fire, too.” Testimonies from other Christian parents support the woman’s report. Questions about “xie jiao” are also included in the final exam for primary schools.

Secondly, The ruling Chinese Communist Party is pushing ahead with an ever-widening ban on religious activity among government employees, including schoolteachers and medical personnel. Teachers working in high schools in some parts of the eastern province of Zhejiang are being asked to sign a letter pledging they do not hold religious beliefs, Protestant Christians said. Photos posted to social media of a “Teacher’s Commitment Letter” issued to teachers at a school in Yueqing requires them to “adhere to the correct political direction, promote atheism, firmly establish a Marxist religious outlook, not believe in any religion, and not teach any religious knowledge to students.”

One report summarised the situation by commenting: “The veil has been completely torn aside now, and the [anti-religion movement] is spreading through schools and hospitals, and anywhere that is under [government] control. There is less and less room for religion to spread now.”

Source: Bitter Winter (www.bitterwinter.org) and Radio Free Asia

Pray that the Lord would cause the Chinese government to cease this hostile promotion of atheism as truth.

Pray the international community would begin to speak out against these flagrant breaches of international standards of human rights.

Pray for both students and teachers caught in this fierce attack on their Christian faith – which is theoretically guaranteed by the Chinese constitution.

Read More
What Kind Of Cat Does China Need?

When Deng Xiaoping came to power in 1978 and began to reform China, his philosophy was defined as “It does not matter what shade of red the cat is as long as it is good at catching mice.” Previously Mao Zedong had been defined as saying “As long as the cat is red, it does not matter whether it can catch mice or not.” “While Mao Zedong spoke of the need for cadres to be ‘red and expert’, Deng Xiaoping made clear the need to prioritize expertise. He argued that experts’ participation in a socialist system, and their dedication to their professional fields, was sufficient to demonstrate their correct political views. This was an attempt to eliminate an atmosphere in which practical work was secondary to demonstrations of political rectitude.” (Snape)

Now Xi JinPing has reversed Deng’s thought and returned to Mao’s philosophy of the red cat. Xi’s thought “seeks to shape the behaviour of all employees in state-salaried administrative posts (行政编织) who perform public duties. This includes ministers and mayors but also millions of lower-ranking public employees. The (new) law alters their incentive and penalty structures by putting ‘politics’ front and center. It institutionalizes the use of a person’s ‘political quality’ (政治素质,) ... breaking with the practice of, for over three decades, focusing primarily on work achievements” (工作实绩). As Xi stated in 2017 “The great new project of Party building . . . is just getting into full swing. We must work harder to uphold the authority and centralized, unified leadership of the Central Committee. . . . The Party remains always the backbone of the nation.”

“Deng wanted to put an end to people's [having to] study stacks of political theory books . . . and attend many meetings that have nothing to do with their professional field. The basic criterion that determined how a person fared in the civil service was how well they performed their professional functions.” This has now changed. Today, “political considerations once again outweigh expertise.” So “individual civil servants and those assessing them, will likely take their cues from things like political speeches, (party) drives, documents, and online apps to determine for themselves how they are expected to behave… The new rules apply to the entire civil service.”

Why this reversal? “Xi has always been a true believer in the party’s right to rule China. For him, the centrality of the party, of Mao, and of the communist canon are all of a piece. In Xi’s eyes, a Chinese leader must be above all Red, meaning loyal to the Communist Party, its leader, and its ideological roots, in good times and bad.”

How long will this reversal from Deng to Mao thought last? “Xi has displayed remarkable boldness and agility in bending the vast, sprawling party system to his will. Sooner or later, however, as recent Chinese history has shown, the system will catch up with him. It is only a question of when.” (McGregor). Maybe – or maybe not!

Sources: “Assessing Civil Servants’ ‘Political Quality’ Will Influence the Rules they Make for NGOs” by Holly Snape.
“Party Man: Xi Jinping’s Quest to Dominate China” by Richard McGregor

Pray for Xi JinPing, his wife and close political associates that a God-given sense of their own mortality would overshadow them.

Thank God for their good policies – the anti-corruption drive and other policies that the common Chinese man appreciates. Pray that there might be more of such policies.

Pray for China’s future, especially events leading up to the next critical party congress in late 2022.

Read More
5 needs of the Chinese Church Today

Jackson Wu (吴荣) wrote an article entitled “The 5 Most Pressing Needs of the Chinese Church”. These needs are listed below and we need to be praying about them. As the great missionary to China Hudson Taylor said: “The power of prayer has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders of divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God’s standing challenge, ‘Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not!’” These five areas of need are places of “weakness, failure and disappointment”; so we need to pray for them.

Need #1. Theological Training

“First, Chinese believers need theological training. While various local training centers exist around the country, most of them lack academically qualified teachers that can provide them with advanced training needed to interact with difficult passages, issues, and worldviews relevant to their ministry… At most, pastors memorize standard formulations without understanding how to interpret the Bible for themselves. Many materials... are merely translated from Western resources without any regard for an Asian context.”

Need #2. Biblical Studies

Second, “the Chinese church needs more resources in the field of Biblical studies… We cannot expect Chinese church leaders to develop contextualized tools and theological insights if they do not have access to foundational knowledge and resources related to Biblical studies.”

Antioch Missions over many years until today has sought to print in China and distribute a huge amount of materials that will help meet the lack of supply in the first two needs listed above.

Need #3. Cross-cultural Training

Third, “Chinese believers need substantial training to serve as cross-cultural missionaries. The failure rate of Chinese missionaries is high. Most have little experience living among people who are not Han Chinese. Furthermore, many Chinese struggle to work in teams while serving in a second-culture environment.”

Antioch Missions is deeply burdened in this area and for over a decade has run courses to meet this need in the Chinese church.

Need #4. Marriage and Family Ministry

“Chinese Christians across the country are desperate to receive assistance in having healthier marriages and families. A majority of believers will readily admit that they are unsure how exactly to be a ‘Christian’ husband/wife, how to lead a church and a family, and raise children who genuinely love Christ.”

Antioch Missions has published several books specifically to address this issue of Christian marriage.

Need #5. Children’s Education

“Chinese children are required to receive 9-years of public education (grades 1-9). This period enables the government to sufficiently indoctrinate all kids with an atheistic, socialistic worldview that celebrates the current political regime. Christian parents understandably are concerned that their children will reject Christianity, especially given increased restrictions by the government on the participation of children in church worship services.”

A number of years ago Antioch Missions funded a powerful Sunday School course and distributed it in China.

Pray that the Lord will raise up labourers to meet each of these 5 needs in the Chinese church.

Pray specifically for the work that Antioch Missions has done for many years in these 5 areas, that we would make a real impact on the Chinese church.

Pray that the Lord would make clear in the years to come how Antioch Missions should serve the church in China in these 5 areas.

Read More
China’s Population: A hidden crisis

In 2019, China's population stands at 1.418 billion, the largest of any country in the world. China ranks number one in the list of nations by population. China’s population is equivalent to 18.41% of the total world population. Most of us would be well aware of those facts. It gives rise to the humorous comment that God must love the Chinese people more than any other because He made more of them than any other!
What is less well known is that China's population growth rate is only 0.59%, ranking China not 1st but 159th in the world. Perhaps our initial reaction might be that slow growth for China is a good statistic. But it is not. According to the New York Times, “Chinese academics recently delivered a stark warning to the country’s leaders: China is facing its most precipitous decline in population in decades, setting the stage for potential demographic, economic and even political crises in the near future. The forecasters said there would be 27 million fewer children aged nine or younger by 2028, a 17 per cent reduction from today, putting a damper on related consumer markets including toys, clothing, milk-based products, education and childcare.”

Yi Fuxian, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote: “It can be seen that 2018 is a historic turning point in China’s population. China’s population has begun to decline and is rapidly aging. Its economic vitality will keep waning.” That is the first year it has done this since the famines of 1961 and 1962 induced by the Great Leap Forward, Mao’s industrialization campaign. The researchers said inaccurate census estimates had obscured the actual population and fertility rates. The fertility rate required to maintain population levels is 2.1 children per woman, a figure known as “replacement level fertility.” China’s fertility rate has officially fallen to 1.6 children per woman, but even that number is disputed. One source claimed it averaged 1.18 between 2010 and 2018.

All this challenges the vision of China’s leadership that “China will become rich before it gets old.” The experts say it will become “old before it gets rich”, because of the falling birth rate coupled with the fact that the economic growth is already starting to slow down.

"The looming demographic crisis could be the Achilles heel of China’s stunning economic transformation over the last 40 years. A decline in the birth rate and an increase in life expectancy means there will soon be too few workers able to support an enormous and aging population. And so the declining population could create an even greater burden on China’s economy and its labor force. With fewer workers in the future, the government could struggle to pay for a population that is growing older and living longer.” Thus consumer spending might slow and have an impact on the economy in China. Some even say China’s state pension fund might even run dry by 2035.

Pray for wisdom for China’s leaders to know how to face this looming population decrease with its wide economic and social implications.
Pray for the institution of the family in China that has been so much under threat, as it is in many nations around the world today.
Pray for the churches in China that they might understand from the Lord how to serve their nation in the face of this hidden crisis, giving hope and the Gospel to those already impacted by these events in China.

Read More
Content (c) FieldPartner International 2019. All Rights Reserved.