Area: 9,573,000 sq km
The third-largest state in the world, also containing the highest mountains and plateaus in the world. The climate and geography are extremely diverse, ranging from tropical in the south to sub-arctic in the north, from a highly industrialized and modern eastern seaboard to sparsely populated western deserts and mountain ranges. Hong Kong and Macau are integral parts of China, though their statistics are not included here; Taiwan’s status is debated. These three are handled separately.
Population: 1,330,584,783 Annual Growth: 0.63%
Official language: Putonghua (Mandarin Chinese); local languages in the five Autonomous Regions. 15 regional mega-languages. There are an estimated 600 different spoken Han dialects, but one written language common to all Languages: 296 All languages
Largest Religion: Non-religious
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Social and health needs in China overwhelm the available resources. Pray that Christians in the caring and social professions find many openings to serve the suffering and to show and speak to them about the love of Jesus. Pray also for Christian lawyers who attempt to stand for justice on behalf of those unable to do so themselves. Pray specifically for:
a) Those with disease and ill health. Millions suffer with tuberculosis, diabetes is on a rapid rise and hundreds of thousands are HIV positive. Since the government changed its attitude on reporting infection rates, Christians now have more opportunities than ever to care for HIV patients and others suffering from debilitating and terminal diseases. Drug-use rates are rapidly increasing now over one million users, two-thirds of whom are under age 35. Smoking is a ticking time bomb 350 million smokers consume over two trillion cigarettes a year.
b) The disabled. Around 83 million disabled, or one-fifth of the worlds total, live in China. Yearly, over 1.2 million are born with defects, and the number is rising. The medical profession is ill-equipped to offer sufficient help to the 40 million affected by mental illness. Praise God that Chinas hosting of the Paralympics in 2008 brought improvements in public perception and in quality of life and treatment for the disabled.
c) The vulnerable and helpless. Those most open to abuse and oppression remain women, orphans (three million in orphanages), refugees (especially from North Korea) and the millions living in poverty. Pray that true justice be administered, that rescue be granted to those in imminent danger and that mercy and compassion be shown to these through Christs followers.
d) The depressed and hopeless. China now has the highest number of suicides in the world at nearly 300,000 per year, a majority of whom are women. Mental health issues are possibly the most urgent social need in China. Divorce rates are skyrocketing (1.5 million/year). Family and community life are deeply changed. Pray for family stability and well-being. Pray for many Christians to get involved in drug rehabilitation, marital counselling and suicide prevention.
e) The overlooked. Many suffer indignity and oppression unseen by most the elderly without care, victims of natural disasters struggling to rebuild, migrants making their way in overcrowded enclaves of Chinese megacities, minority communities and those in the harsh penal system. Jesus sees and remembers them all; pray that the Church might also.
For an additional 5 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of China.