Archive for April 25th, 2012
If you were living and working in a foreign country that had a totalitarian reputation, and you learned that unwanted baby girls were being killed, to make way for boys, would you turn a blind eye… or would you risk your own life (and that of your family and friends) to do something about it?
This was the dilemma faced 12 years ago by Canadian Dr Jim Garrow, head of the very successful chain of 160 Pink Pagoda immersion language schools, which he ran as chief of the revered Bethune Institute. Through his work, Dr Garrow had gained an intimate understanding of Chinese society, and this – plus his unashamed Christian faith – allowed him to undertake an audacious cloak-and-dagger operation to save “endangered baby girls”.
China – like much of the world, these days – is concerned about overpopulation. But unlike more liberal countries, more than three decades ago it took the drastic step of limiting couples to one child. In isolation that probably sounds draconian, but not exactly barbaric. The problem is that many couples (in China, as elsewhere) hope for a son, to carry on the family name, and faced with the prospect of bringing up only a firstborn daughter, thousands have resorted to what is euphemistically referred to as ‘setting them aside’ (i.e. killing them), to remain eligible to try for the desired son.
Dr Garrow became aware of this practice through a personal contact, and having taken steps to save that first child (through adoption) he quickly found his services in great demand. Soon, he was using his own personal savings (eventually he spent around $31 million) to create an underground network, saving thousands of baby girls from certain death – at the last count, around 40,000. And at every step he risked being caught out by the authorities and charged with stealing babies – a charge from which even his contacts and wealth wouldn’t protect him. The sentence would almost certainly have been execution, despite his foreign status and popularity within the country.
In 2009 Dr Garrow was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition of his ‘human trafficking’ efforts (although that Prize was eventually won by Barack Obama), and his recent book “The Pink Pagoda: One Man’s Quest to End Gendercide in China”, which is published by WND Books, now tells the exciting and moving story of his adventures in pursuit of this philanthropic, but dangerous cause.
(I don’t get commission for promoting this, by the way!!!)