The Gospel Coalition

The Story: The Chinese government recently admitted that over the last four decades the country has aborted 336 million unborn children, many of them forcibly.

The Background: According to the Financial Times, on March 14 the Chinese Health Ministry reported the following statistics for its family planning practices since 1971:

-- 336 million abortions performed;

-- 196 million sterilizations conducted;

-- 403 million intrauterine devices inserted.

China, the world's most populous country, first instituted limits on population growth in 1971 and established its "one-child" population control program in 1979.

What It Means: The story has been shockingly underreported considering what China has admitted: Since 1971, the country has carried out the largest single slaughter of human beings in the history of the world.

To put the numbers in perspective, the 336 million deaths in China are:

• More than the entire population of the world at the time of the Crusades (c. 1100 AD).

• Equal to the entire combined populations of the United States and Australia.

• More deaths than were caused by (in millions): the Bubonic Plague in Europe (100), the Great Chinese Famine (45), the 1918 Influenza Pandemic (40), the HIV/AIDS pandemic (25), the Holocaust (13), the Soviet famine of 1932-1933 (8), the Russian famine of 1921 (3), and the American Civil War (.8).

• More than all the people killed in the 10 ten deadliest wars in human history (Based on highest estimates (in millions): World War II (72), World War I (65), Mongol Conquest (60), An Lushan Rebellion (36), Taiping Rebellion (30), Qing Dynasty conquest of the Ming Dynasty (25), Conquests of Timur (20), Dungan Revolt (12), Russian Civil War (9), Second Congo War (5.4))

• More than all the children that will be born in the world over the next ten years.

No comparisons, however, can truly help us to understand the scale of these 336 million deaths—and that is in a single country. The magnitude of the crime is incomprehensible to the human imagination. Only God can truly fathom the depths of this depravity and only God can truly apprehend the magnitude of this loss. May he have mercy on our world for what we have done.



November 3, 2013 at 03:34 PM


It is really so difficult to simply point to factual documentation for China's atrocities without a mea culpa about our own? Do we have to always engage in some kind of cultural equivocation... or can we just say, "China seems like a real hellhole!" and let it stand as a statement of fact? We're (he's)'pointing the finger because... wait for it... they're guilty!


May 24, 2013 at 09:36 AM

I am not sure why this article shocks us? This is what all people do who are living their lives outside of life giving relationship with Jesus Christ (whether it be China or any other country for that matter).

It's bothersome that this article suggestively points the finger at the "evil" people of China and quietly shames them as a nation for "letting" this happen.

Please, let's not shame others or point fingers at the sin in one nation over our own (Canada - approx 3 million abortion since 1974 & U.S - approx 53 million abortions since 1973).

What is a greater travesty? 336 million lives taken since 1971 in a country where Christ isn't readily proclaimed or 55 million lives taken in countries that are so called "Christian"?

[...] wife and I were left stunned after reading a recent article from the Gospel Coalition regarding the number of forced abortions in China. 336 million abortions [...]

[…] this is a horribly sad story about how the Chinese Government has murdered over 336 million children over the last 4 […]

[...] via: China Admits to the Greatest Slaughter in Human History – The Gospel Coalition Blog. [...]

A Baby Holocaust In China | SCBC BLOG

March 29, 2013 at 04:48 AM

[...] by govt. policy). That number is staggering. To give better perspective, I want to pass along a blog post by Joe Carter (The Gospel Coalition) that explains the scope of this [...]


March 28, 2013 at 11:03 PM

Is's very easy to boycott somebody, it's hard to bring solution to the problem...
Did Jesus boycott anybody? I think no, except the Pharisees. But what was the difference between Jesus and Pharisees... Pharisees were the priests of this time - they fasted, prayed, attend Sunday service, taught the word - so, as Jesus did, but what was the difference?

Pharisees were taught the LAW and judge people around, Jesus were (and HE IS) the WORD and the ANSWER!

It's easy to judge China and to close eyes for the problems of this country... what will be if all the people in CHina will start to born all the children that they want and I am not speaking, that abortion is acceptable, I speak about humans egoism: "I want to have a sex without responsibility - i want to born childerns without responsibility"

Who will feed all this (un)born childerns at China? USA? Europe?
and what about all this childrens at India and Africa... millions of kids died of starving every year!!! There is no difference between to be killed of abortion and to be killed of starving - it's egoism - OUR christians egoism! Cause God called us His feets and Arms, He forbid us to judge anybody...
We need not only to pray (but it's the first step of any action) We need to bring Heaven's solutions to this Wourls... We needs to feed those who starving, we needs to change the law (in OUR COUNTRIES first) to stop baby killing, not the babby killers - couse a lot of this people just see no other way except abortion... Why? Couse we do not shine sufficiently! Couse we do not solt sufficiently! Couse we, Christians do not speak about Our God and His solutions quite enough!
As Nehemiah, We need to confess our sins and sins of our nations and start to DO, what Lord wants (commands) us to DO! We needs to stop judging people and chating around problems... We needs to us Lord in pray what needs to be done and do to in obedients to Him

[...] is mind boggling! Something is terribly wrong when the world can be so complacent regarding the Greatest Slaughter in Human History. These numbers are staggering – more that the population of the United States and Australia [...]

[...] I have just learned something that my mind simply cannot comprehend. H/T The Gospel Coalition [...]

Victoria Fernandez

March 26, 2013 at 11:36 AM

I've decided there IS something I can do about this! BOYCOTT CHINA!!

Lena emo

March 26, 2013 at 07:25 AM

Seeing these numbers, in these comparisons, is unbelievable. As a nation, as the world, it scares me to think of the judgement and wrath of God. This innocent blood is on this generation. My heart grieves for each one of these innocent victims.


March 26, 2013 at 05:45 PM

@ Victoria: Well, we might as well boycott U.S.A. too, if boycotting is the answer, as America is not any better. About the same amount of abortions per capita have been performed here.


March 26, 2013 at 05:40 PM

Very well said! This breaks my heart, and hits especially close to home, since we have two precious children who we adopted from China. America is just as much to blame, as America has performed just about as many abortions per capita. Sad and heartbreaking for both countries. I find comfort in the fact that precious children are in Heaven now, and won't have to deal with this crazy world.


March 26, 2013 at 01:31 PM

Not all of these sterilizations are carried out on adults. Orphanged children are being taken in for necessary surgeries and being sterilized at the same time. All being denied by China, of course. God have mercy on these atrocities.

Christian and Libertarian

March 25, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Proving that 'Faith' AND 'Science' can be wielded for violence. You won't see Dawkins complaining about the secular slaughter of innocents.


March 25, 2013 at 09:05 PM

In Western countries about one in four pregnancies are "terminated". Over time this would add up to a lot. Maybe we need to be careful about pointing the finger at China when our own cultures share the guilt.


March 25, 2013 at 09:03 PM

Minority tribes, especially if they live in a peasant rural area are sometimes allowed more than one child, because the villages depend on manpower to grow enough food to eat. Many of these villagers live in areas that are too mountainous to bring in machinery to do the work. The soil is very poor and rocky, so they need to grow as much as they can in any available space.
Another part of the personal tragedy is when your one allowed child dies unexpectedly, and if the mother has already been sterilised there's no second chance.

[...] China Admits to the Greatest Slaughter in Human History [...]

Craig Hurst

March 24, 2013 at 09:02 AM

I am in China right now finalizing our adoption of a Chinese boy who is now our 4th child. Our travel guide said that when they enacted the 1 child rule the government had a group mom in each area to know and monitor each mother. When a women was pregnant with their 2nd child she would go to their home and tell them they needed to go to the hospital to "take care" of the child. Now, these women suggest mothers to deal with the 2nd child but they are not legally obligated to do so. However, there are severe financial "consequences" for having a 2nd child. Since most of the people here are poorer they are forced into a situation where they feel they have to either give up their child after birth or have an abortion. For people with money there is no issue and the financial burden is no burden at all since they can afford it.

What they are going to face in 20 yrs or less is a drastic reduction in population as there are now more older people in the population. Once the older generation dies it is possible there might not be enough people to sustain their way of life by that time.

Mark G

March 24, 2013 at 01:56 PM

I wonder how many of these were girls. I doubt Americans in general would be all that appauled at murdering 300 million unborn fetuses so long as free choice is maintained. I wonder if they'd be appauled at choosing to murder female fetuses over males. I'd be surprised if these stats are not skewed toward female abortions.

I suppose they'd be appauled at the govermnet forced abortions more than those by choice.

[...] it, and that it was a command, but I never got the weight of it. Not until today. This morning I read something that shook my entire foundation. Since 1971 China has committed 336 MILLION [...]

Helen Druitt

March 23, 2013 at 11:20 PM

No no no no no! We can never use Gods word to nullify another! I must admit I too was tempted to think this way when reading. BUT, God says to trust him beyond our own understanding. We can't give into Satans lies by thinking murder is good because it keeps poverty down and now people can live long enough to hear the gospel. God is more powerful than that! Remember he can turn 2 fish and 5 loaves to feed a multitude of he chooses to! How? I don't know. But he does if we trust him and follow him e.g. By not murdering his children. Jesus also says that children are to come to him and that anyone that was to stop them would be punished. Are we then excluding the gospel to only those who are adults? The gospel is for all people, old and young. It's for all nations! Don't give into Satans lies by thinking that murder is good because it is better from a worldly perspective. God is king over the universe! Trust in him and listen to what he says. We must stop this!

[...] Joe Carter: [...]


March 23, 2013 at 08:02 PM

The writer of this article sounds so astounded. The horror is happening in our backyard, in a country with Christian roots.


March 23, 2013 at 07:58 AM

Dear Satan,

You are a little late on killing the innocent, though you may get pleasure from it, remember, you failed to kill Jesus, who grew up, cast your workers out of everyone he met, whom you failed to tempt, and then he proceeded onto the cross to CRUSH YOU and kill death!"

Killing these children don't do anything since Jesus the true Lord's plan will happen no matter what. In a way, these children are blessed to not see the worldly system your bringing in. Satan you're defeated and powerless, you may get the rulers of this world to do your bidding, but I pray for them, and my Lord answers prayers.

A saint of the Most High


March 23, 2013 at 04:42 PM

4. I also have the view that God would have used many of the individual abortion cases to bring people to Himself. I don't have the figures/stories to back this up but it seems in line with the Nature of God.REPLY


March 23, 2013 at 04:41 PM

4. I also have the view that God would have used many of the individual abortion cases to bring people to Himself. I don't have the figures/stories to back this up but it seems in line with the Nature of God.


March 23, 2013 at 04:36 PM

Not that this excuses this atrocities, however we need to:
1.See God's Grace and Mercy for the unborn. And that his love and mercy that is availible to parents/authorities who have gone through / in forced an abortion.
2. Have a perspective that "China’s poverty rate fell from 85% to 15.9%, or by over 600 million people" ( over the last couple of decades and I don't believe these amazing figures would have been possible with a massive reduction in the birth rate.
3. Point two means that life expectancy has gone up, education levels have gone up and health care has greatly improved. Which means that now many more Chinese make it to adult hood and have the possibility of finding out about the Grace and truth to be found.
in Jesus.
4. I

Mark Soni

March 22, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Sometimes, we are focused on our own individual sin that we lose focus on the collective sin of humanity, and our ignorance and lack of action for it. I need a broken heart for this. I looked at my nephew and see how beautiful God made him...and I look at this article to see all the lives snuffed out by our hands. Maranatha Lord Jesus come.

Ryan S

March 22, 2013 at 11:37 AM

May the Lord break our hearts over such tragedy. May we never again say that such murder is simply a private choice. Come Lord Jesus! We need you.


March 22, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Coming to the United States from China is EXTREMELY difficult and only those with very high income or jobs high up in the government can pull enough strings to be able to come. Those families fortunate enough to be well off can apply to the government to have more children and if "approved" are allowed to conceive and birth another child. Also many MANY couples have more children in secret. They hide the mother while she is pregnant.

[...] March 22, 2013 by andrew | Leave a comment The Chinese government recently admitted that over the last four decades the country has aborted 3... [...]


March 22, 2013 at 10:18 AM

So, what you're telling me, is that if not for the grace of the Almighty God, I've murdered 336 million people?

Ugh...I need Jesus so badly.

Ben Jones

March 22, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Very sad, as is child starvation and neglect (not a justification for abortion, but for perspective).

I wonder how many million abortions are carried out in our countries, often for extremely trivial reasons.

Lord may your light shine ever more brightly in the darkness!

Steve Cornell

March 22, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Unimaginable! Heartbreaking! Can we even pray for God's mercy?

I could only think of a paraphrase of James 5:4-6

"The cries of those (babies) have reached the ears of the Lord who rules over all.
You have lived an easy life on earth. You have given yourselves everything you wanted. You have made yourselves fat like cattle that will soon be butchered. You have judged and murdered people who aren’t guilty. And they weren’t even opposing you."


March 22, 2013 at 09:34 AM

Being a university town we have lots of Chinese students. Last year I babysat for a Christian Chinese couple. She has a twin sister along with another sister. All the women came here as students. I run into this frequently where the Chinese woman is not an only child.
Are there some areas of China where this is pushed more than others? Does the economics of the parents make a difference? I find this very confusing.


March 22, 2013 at 09:30 AM

I wonder when our sins will finally be piled up to the heavens and bring down God's just anger. Childbirth is such an amazing blessing from God in His common, creative grace. What if, in punishment, He decided to remove that grace? Anyone see "Children of men"? God forgive us.

Jacob Park

March 22, 2013 at 09:26 AM

So unbelievably sad. May the hearts of the people of China turn to Him.

Don Sartain

March 22, 2013 at 08:37 AM

My heart is crushed seeing this...may God forgive us for being so blind to that which goes on around us.


March 22, 2013 at 08:33 PM

In recent years, they've made provisions to the One Child Law.

Basically, if you have more than one child, you are slapped with a heavy fine. So, if you are rich enough to pay that fine, then you can do what you want-or if you are rich enough to pay someone off to turn their heads. Most Chinese people are not.

One provision is that if one parent has a PHD, they can have more children (I think it's +1 per PHD in your family, so if both parents have a PHD, you can have 3 children). Also, twins count as one, so in the case of your friend, her parents are documented as having two births, not three.

Also, if a baby is born in Hong Kong, they are not held under One Child Policy because in order to get HK back in 1997, China and Britain and HK signed a bunch of treaties that makes HK autonomous in many respects. So, if Chinese want more children and have enough money, they will go to HK to have their babies and avoid lifelong fines from the government. Many Christian Chinese are doing this now-they save or raise money to go to HK because that is cheaper than the fines they will have to pay for having more than one child.

Chinese who are members of minority groups are also allowed to have two children (there are 56 officially recognized minorities in China who have unique culture, language, religion, and customs but they are Chinese).

One provision has always been in place that if a parent is a farmer, they can have two children because they need help on the farm-that is if their fist child is a girl (oh the sexism) or if the first child has a disability. Also, in many rural areas people have more children and get away with it because they are not as heavily policed. I lived in China and this is what my Chinese friends told me, anyway.

The One Child Policy took affect in 1979, so parents were allowed to have one more child if their other children were born before 1979.


March 22, 2013 at 07:35 PM

And worse yet, some of those abortions were viable infants - and at least one of them that I know of - was actually born first.


March 22, 2013 at 06:21 PM

This story is horrifying but, as others have noted, not out of line with western countries on a percentage basis. The problem is not out there in foreign lands, it is in our own silence, tolerance, and ignorance.. In the U.S. today, over 3000 unborn children were aborted. What did you do to try to stop it?

Breaks My Heart… | Just Jess

March 22, 2013 at 05:20 PM

[...] Today, a friend of mine who I love deeply, shared a story on Facebook about China. This is a couple lines from that article… [...]


March 22, 2013 at 04:37 PM

No offense intended and certainly not to minimize the magnitude of this, but we (as Americans) are in no position to point fingers. The number is irrelevant the method is irrelevant. While China forces, America endorses. Our hands are just as stained.


March 22, 2013 at 04:04 PM

how can this be allowed??- why don't you ask the same for all the western countries that do so.
also it is not a human right to have children- it is a human right to not kill the child!

Just like Sibelius and Pelosi have said that abortions will make it easier to operate the health system etc the chinese government has the same idea


March 22, 2013 at 04:02 PM

This is horrific and shocking, but I am surprised it is not higher. 336 million abortions in a country of 1,344,000,000. The United States statistics for the same years is 55 million abortions in a country of 314,000,000. Thinking of this does bring tears. It is gut wrenching horror.


March 22, 2013 at 03:10 PM

There will be a reckoning. The world is not ultimately unjust. Payday someday.


March 22, 2013 at 01:54 PM

One more for comparison, that is about the current population of the US.


March 22, 2013 at 01:36 PM


Yes, many Chinese families do and have had more than more child. Legally all couples can have one child. If a family wishes to have another child they are charged a high fine. I've found that many wealthier Chinese families have more than one child as they can afford the fine (many Chinese students living in America come from wealthier families as studying in America is expensive). Other families, typically villagers, who have a second child may sell the child or try to hide it from the government. Some provinces are more strict on this law than others, by the way. I have a Chinese friend who has 2 other sisters (undoubtably her family tried to conceive a boy). This same friend found out recently that she in fact has another sister who was taken away as a baby to avoid fines. I'd really encourage you to ask your Chinese friends about their family's situation. It's not really taboo to talk about.

Mike A

March 22, 2013 at 01:24 PM


One correction: the Soviet famine of 1932-1933 was not a famine, it was the deliberate starvation of "undesirables" by the Soviets. It doesn't belong in the natural disasters section, it was the equivalent on a smaller scale to what China has done.


March 22, 2013 at 01:12 PM

How can this be allowed? Anywhere? Especially for so many decades? I know it's hard for one country to tell another one what to do. But this has to stop. Are Chinese couples allowed to use birth control before marriage? And then stop having kids after the 3rd one? Still, it's our human right just as being human to have children. The govt it set up to help those in need get jobs. China should never run out of jobs since everything in USA is made in China. I don't get this at all.

[...] one child policy, gendercide and forced abortions, I am still stunned and horrified by this story: The Chinese government recently admitted that over the last four decades the country has aborted [...]


April 5, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Hi Jake,

I'm not sure I understand your reasoning...we should be okay with the grievous and murderous sin of society because we believe in a sovereign God who may have mercy on the unborn? What about the people carrying out these atrocities? They are guilty of murder, and without repentance and trust in Christ for forgiveness, they are already under condemnation and face eternity in hell. I don't see how the ends could possibly justify the means. Life is a gracious gift from God, whether we acknowledge it or is part of his common grace to sinful humanity that we even have life. Your argument about those who have supposedly never heard the Gospel "rejecting" God is what the Bible says - they are without excuse for they are suppressing the truth about God in unrighteousness.

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened." - Romans 1:18-21

It's easy to just throw out hypotheticals to support the case you are trying to make....but the fact is, we should never condone sin that destroys life with some kind of practical assumption about more unborn going to heaven if they are killed rather than allowed to live. This is just an absurd argument.

Some Quiet Time | Notes from Heidi

April 4, 2013 at 09:12 PM

[...] chapter on China with my 8th graders and am excited to bring more current events into this section. This article, among others, will be read and [...]


April 4, 2013 at 03:01 PM

I'm going to start by saying this, I believe abortion is wrong. However, I question why so many Christians on this blog find the killing of unborn babies so horrifying. If I had a Christian worldview, I would believe that a dying child who has not come of an "age of reckoning" would go to heaven. Whereas individuals who have never heard of Jesus Christ, will live in eternal condemnation for somehow "rejecting" God. Now, lets hypothesis that
abortion was not legal in china, these 336 million babies would have been born, grown up, and lived their lives. Surely some of the 336 million souls would have heard of Christ. Lets give a generously high estimate, 150 million people. Going further, lets say that 100 million of them are saved. Would there not be 100 million souls in Heaven? As compared to the 336 million that are in heaven now? I fail to see why more souls in heaven is such a bad thing.

[...] reported that more than 336 million children have been eliminated through abortion since 1971.  Joe Carter at The Gospel Coalition put that number into its gruesome [...]

Robert Conroy

April 3, 2013 at 11:13 AM

I see this statistic. I see that there have been 500 million deaths from abortion in the United States. The scale and the comparisons are important to sort out. Add the number of lives prevented from being born due to birth control and those resulting deaths from abortifacient effects of birth control measures. The grace that has been prevented from entering the world is incalculable!


April 3, 2013 at 09:44 AM

This article is very misleading. There was no slaughter or murders, just abortions. Same as happens in the USA.


April 3, 2013 at 08:11 AM

I don't want anyone to think that I am defending what has happened in China, but think about this: In 1962 The Bible and Prayer were removed from our schools. Eleven short years later, abortion was legalized in America. (We essentially removed God from Public conversation!) We sit horrified as we read the Bible and learn that Israel's people sacrificed their children to Baal and other Gods... and yet, isn't our country doing the same? We are sacrificing our children to the idols of body, money, embarrassment, convenience, and so on! Since 1973 our nation (America) has murdered more than 55 million children. When we stand before God, who do you think will be judged more harshly? A nation who did not have access to God and who's evil government forced abortion on them, or a nation where the people complied with the removal of God from their public consciousness, and then proceeded to voluntarily murder their own children for their own selfish reasons?


April 3, 2013 at 02:32 AM

I've once heard when ever the devil (tries to) kill a lot of children he knows YHWH is about to do something great! So let is look on Him


April 2, 2013 at 08:05 PM

Gabriel is right on. Easy to weep, cry out, etc.-Harder to actually address the root of the problem. People need to see that there will be hope for the children if they are allowed to live. In desparate situations people sometimes act desperate.

[...] The Greatest Slaughter in Human History – This is by no means an easy read, but it brings to light the terrible and tragic history of abortion in China over the past 40 years. [...]


April 19, 2013 at 04:41 PM

Prayer would be more effective.