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Sex Education Begins in Beijing
Middle school students in the Chinese capital began sex education courses for the first time Wednesday.

Nine middle schools in Beijing's western Haidian District, home to a host of prestigious universities, took the lead in offering sex education courses when the new semester started this month.

Hu Xinyi, deputy director of the Haidian District Education Commission, said that all newly enrolled middle school students in his district will receive sex education courses beginning this semester.

He also noted that a group of middle school teachers are receiving training for teaching sex education courses, and the courses will be expanded to another 200 Haidian middle schools during the year.

"Many children want to acquire knowledge about the adolescent period, but they have no proper channels," said Hu, adding that it's very urgent to open sex education courses in middle schools.

The newly published set of sex education textbooks has four editions, each designed differently for junior and senior middle school students, university students and teachers.  

Experts said that the textbooks are different from former ones. They are a joint effort of experts, parents and students, and the vivid, colorful illustrations were done by a female middle school student.

A teacher, who participated in the editing, said the new textbooks are a breakthrough in teaching youngsters how to deal with sexual harassment, take emergency contraception measures and keep away from drugs. The books also cover AIDS, venereal diseases, "cyber love" and premarital sex, he said.

He also recommended that teachers and students both open discussion on sex education to help overcome embarrassment.

Experts also noted that sex education should be a lifelong education. This is the age to help young people learn about safe and healthy sex and procreation and to help them make the right choices in their lifestyle, they said.

According to China's Population and Family Planning Law, which was put into effect on Sept. 1, schools are required to offer sex education.

Apart from Beijing, a dozen other Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chongqing, Harbin and Xi'an, have included sex education plans in middle schools. The first set of sex education textbooks was published in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province in 2001.

(Xinhua News Agency September 12, 2002)

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