Poisonous Milk Powder Incident Discloses Serious Ethical Dilemma in China

( [email protected] ) Nov 02, 2008 03:05 AM EST
With the rapid economic development in China, the Chinese people's economic condition has improved significantly from before, but the problems of people not adhering to moral standards have caused grave concerns from all fields of the society.
The poisonus milk powder incident which affect the entire country reveals the urgency for the need of moral uplifting. The picture shows the baby victims who have developed kidney stones as a result of drinking the poisoned raw milk. (Chinareviewnews.com)

With the rapid economic development in China, the Chinese people's economic condition has improved significantly from before, but the problems of people not adhering to moral standards have caused grave concerns from all fields of the society.

On Oct. 27, Christian Communication China Soul monthly prayer meeting shared with the participants the moral challenges faced by the people in mainland and urges all to pray for China's society and the churches in mainland.

China Soul staff said that besides the recent incident of milk powder being poisoned which revealed shallow business ethics, every level of the society has been influenced by the pluralistic values and perspectives, causing the inability to make a right judgment. Particularly, family values has been deeply affected, where divorce and extra-marital affairs have increased. The specific situation is described below:

The Speed of Economic Development and Enlightenment of the Spirit is incongruent -

Market economy can push the citizens to earn profit diligently, thereby, improving the living standard, but without guaranteeing the enlightenment of the spirit at the same time, it also means that the people probably will not seek to raise the society's morality.

The poisonous milk powder incident that occurred recently is a prime example. The unlawful businessmen involved in this case placed melamine substances into the milk powder, hoping to induce the milk powder to increase in its protein percentage and thereby passing the protein level test; however, tens of thousands of babies developed kidney stones, which caused pain and anger inside the hearts of the victim's parents. In reality, poisonous food product incidents also happened before. In 2004, a poor quality milk powder caused a baby to have swollen head, at times one can hear about poisonous cookies, oil, etc,.

Moreover, the pollution problem in China cannot be ignored. Businessmen who wants to receive short-term returns would pay without considering the long-term consequences on the environment, which may even cause harm to people's health. According to a staff working in Eastern China, he used to be able to swim and wash his clothes in the small lake behind his house, but the lake has been so badly polluted with waste that it no longer can be used for anything. These are just some examples that shows the selfish, lawless, and self-serving behaviors which has now become a trend to follow and has place a permanent mark on China's international image.

The influence of moral pluralism

Because of the rapid development of the society, the society is revealing a phenomenon of pluralistic development, where moral values now consist of different options. Since the society promotes individual decision-making, individualism has become a type of lifestyle: placing personal gains and freedom as first priority, each person is busy with his business so no one really cares for others, and this causes a drop of individual’s sense of social responsibilities.

This kind of phenomenon is very popular in the college campuses. College students are all searching for the directions of their lives. Some sells their own body because they wanted to earn money to buy fashion products and clothes; some ignores the society’s criticisms of their morals and chose to cohabit with their loved ones in the school, abandoning their education; some disrespect the scholastic spirit and copies other people’s thesis, in order to obtain a graduation certificate through cheating. There is no absolute moral standard to follow. How will China’s new generation turn out?

Influence upon standard of family values

Because of rapid economic developments and the pluralizing of moral values, marriages now have many problems; extra-marital affairs are becoming ever increasing rampant, which caused the divorce rate to rise from year to year. This kind of culture is slowly seeping into the churches, which becomes heavy burdens for the ministers to teach and minister.

Because of these signs, a marriage certificate no longer stands for a life-long promise, the seriousness and sanctity of marriage are slowing fading away; staying faithful to marriage seems to be one of many choices, but personal enjoyment is the most important. As a result, some people get married with the thought of getting divorced if the marriage doesn’t work out. That’s why the divorce rate is rising so rapidly. Marriage counseling is urgently needed.

Eight honors and eight shames

In 2006, China’s national chairperson Hu Jintao setup the socialist’s perspectives on honor and shame – eight honors and eight shames, which has become this generation’s mainstream moral standard. In the Sichuan earthquake that took place in May this year, we saw the wonderful testimonies of many people sacrificing for love, and that numerous volunteers dropped their work and went to provide assistance at the disaster area through self-support, and some even stayed to support the long-term reconstruction efforts.

Pray that the Lord can allow this disaster to become a catalyst for the people’s reflection on the correct moral values, which allows them to come to know the wonderful values that cannot be lost in life. The church must also rely upon the Lord to be courageous and not be knocked down by the secular culture, but become the salt of the earth and light of the world and lead people before Christ to be saved.

In face of various social phenomenons, China Soul urged those concerned to pray the following prayer topics:

1. Please pray for the businessmen in mainland China. Pray that they can obey the business ethics in not providing poisonous food and harmful services to the people. Pray that they will do what is right despite the gains so the consumers can be protected.

2. Please pray for people in all levels of society. Pray that they won’t be overly affected by individualism, but can accept traditional moral values; pray that they won’t blindly follow the flow and lose the correct judgment ability.

3. Please pray that the people can maintain a proper standard of family values. Pray that the Lord can take away all the obstacles in forming a harmonious family, leading the people to cherish their families and making efforts to manage a healthy marriage and family life.

4. Please pray that the people’s good testimonies can influence the society. Pray that the people in China can see the good values in the midst of the disasters, their hearts can be touched, and can reflect on their life meaning and values.

5. Please pray that the church can place Christ as the head, each member can coordinate together in serving the Lord, and live out the standard of moral values as taught in the Bible and leading more people to believe in Christ by relying upon God’s power in this perverse and wicked generation.

[Editor's note: reporter Ruth Wong from San Francico contributed to this report.]