Two weeks ago, the world watched Chen Guangcheng escape.
Wearing a Nike track jacket and aviators, rural China's self-taught lawyer, advocate of women and the disabled, spoke to a camera in a curtained Beijing room. Visibly exhausted and unshaven, Chen, blind since the age of one, told of the injustices he, his wife and two children endured at the hands of Dongshigu village thugs since 2010.
After serving four years in prison for trumped-up property damage and traffic disturbance charges, Chen and his family were placed under "soft detention" house arrest -- that is, constant surveillance and frequent beatings which left them cold, sick and hungry.
At around 11:00 p.m. on a moonless April 22, Chen made a desperate bid for freedom. Used to the dark, he scaled walls and roofs by sound and feel, crawled along dusty farm road until he reached Beijing.
Chen has become a hero to many, but particularly to Chinese women, whom he has boldly defended for many years.
Chen's Mission: China's One-Child Policy
On this Mother's Day, however, these women have little to celebrate. In the past month, Chinese officials once again renewed their commitment to enforcing the One-Child Policy for years to come.
The infamous "family planning" offensive launched in 1979 as a means of population control recently made headlines when the country's autocrats announced that they would overhaul the blatantly threatening slogans used to enforce it. State media blamed local officials for implementing such phrases as "If you don't get sterilized, your house will be demolished" and "Kill all your family if you don't follow the rule."
Liu Ping, a former factory worker from Tianjin, testified to Congress about such violent treatment. Before coming to the United States with her husband, Liu underwent five forced abortions in line with the One-Child Policy. The fifth, she said, marked the saddest day of her life.
In Liu's anesthetic state, doctors had implanted a metal intrauterine device without consent. "I was in great pain from the metallic IUD and the weakness of the abortion and almost didn't want to live," she said. "Even now, when I think of all this, my heart shudders and the pain throbs."
This is why we have worked to restore value to mothers like Liu, and Li Liyan -- whose pregnancy with a third baby girl resulted in her public disownment. Once her pregnancy became obvious, she had to hide her parents' home. Confined to an unlit room damp with rainwater for the duration of her term, Li was offered emergency aid by All Girls Allowed field workers.
These are the kinds of stories that spurred Chen into action; it is our hope that others will follow in his steps. We share these women's experiences through prayer vigils, small groups, collegiate chapters, conferences, and, integrally, via the Web. Thanks to the rapid growth of digital platforms and their role in spreading news instantaneously, the Chinese government now has to answer to its people more readily than ever.
On this Mother's Day, you can align with Chen's mission and pursue restoration for China's women. We believe that by the power of our God -- who hears the cries of the afflicted --gendercide and the One-Child Policy will end.
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