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What is Driving the Kidnapping Trend in China?

Eric Metaxas | Author | Updated: Apr 22, 2015

What is Driving the Kidnapping Trend in China?

Most parents, when they travel with young children, take along a few things to make the journey easier: juice packs, Gameboy, and a few cookies. But when one Chinese father travels with his little girl, he takes along handcuffs.


The father, whose name is Chen Yen, took his six-year-old daughter to visit her grandparents during China’s recent Spring Festival. At a train station, a photographer noticed that he had handcuffed himself to his child, and the photographer snapped a picture. And it quickly went viral.


As Mr. Chen told The Daily Mail, “I saw a warning by police … to take care as traffickers and pickpockets would be out stealing in the holiday rush. I don’t care about pickpockets,” he added, “but I do care very much about losing my daughter.”


Mr. Chen has good reason to worry. An astonishing 70,000 children are kidnapped by gangs every year in China—70,000.


The kidnappings are fueled by China’s One Child Policy, which restricts couples to just one baby. Given China’s cultural preference for boys, many couples abort female babies, leading to a huge disparity between the sexes. China now has some thirty-three million more men than women, and many of these men are desperate for wives—desperate enough to pay a gang to kidnap a “bride” for them.


The One Child policy also means that far fewer children are available for adoption by couples unable to have their own babies. The perfectly normal desire to become parents is contributing to the huge number of child abductions, and the drastic measures parents must take to protect their children.


Chuck Colson was right: Worldview matters. China’s secular, communist outlook denies the sanctity of every human life and undermines and seeks to control the basic building block of civilization, that is, the family. And the social consequences are dramatic and tragic.


Sad to say, American parents are also enduring the consequences of a culture that has largely rejected a biblical worldview. The result is that many Americans are just as afraid for the safety of our children as are the Chinese—not because of a one-child policy, but because of sexual predators.


Parents worry about child predators befriending their kids over the Internet. Most wouldn’t dream of allowing their children to visit a nearby park without adult supervision. They’re afraid that those who traffic in children may come to their neighborhoods. After all, the U.S. government estimates that some 300,000 children are at risk of being trafficked.


What drives sexual attacks on children? Well, pornography is certainly a main contributor. According to the National Coalition Against Pornography, virtually every pedophile consumes hard-core porn. As a spokesman for the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children noted, “Not everyone who reads porn acts out [against children], but everyone who acts out does read child pornography.”


Many people claim that pornography harms nobody. Well, they’re wrong. And our culture’s acceptance of it comes at a high price.


But then, this is exactly the point Chuck Colson set out to make when he launched BreakPoint nearly 25 years ago: Our worldview, how we see reality, how we define what is good, bad, or in-between, will shape how we live—as individuals and as a society.


Chuck often advised us to test the validity of any worldview by following it to its logical conclusion. How will a society fare that rejects absolute truth and the existence of natural moral laws? That values power and pleasure over love and respect for human dignity?


The answer is staring us right in the face.


BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at where you can read and search answers to common questions.

Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Publication date: April 22, 2015

What is Driving the Kidnapping Trend in China?