Chinese women have come to know more about contraception and they are free to choose the contraceptive methods suitable for their own physical conditions.
Since 1995, the State Family Planning Commission has carried out a trial program in six provincial areas including Shanghai, Liaoning and Jiangsu to provide good service in contraception for local residents.
Now, the program has spread to more than 800 counties or urban districts, about one third of the total number of counties and districts across the country.
Aiming to guarantee women's rights to decide on contraception and to choose various methods, the program helps them understand contraceptive means as a way to raise awareness of reproductive health.
Compared with traditional long-term contraception like tubal ligation and intra-uterine devices, short-term measures such as the Pill and condoms may have a higher risk of pregnancy, creating new challenges in family planning.
Ru Xiaomei, an official of the International Cooperation Department of the State Family Planning Commission, said that guaranteeing women's choice on contraception showed the trend of family planning, which calls for better services for people of child-bearing age.
In December last year, China issued the Law on Population and Family Planning, which stipulates the rights to information on contraception and to choose ways of contraception, and requires governments at all levels to provide rural couples of child-bearing age with free birth-control facilities and other contraceptive services.
Geng Xinchao, head of the Family Planning Commission of Huangshan City in Anhui province, said that Chinese women, especially those living in the rural areas, were gradually becoming more knowledgeable when it came to bearing children.
"Most of them are able to better understand the problems caused by population growth to a family and the whole of society," Geng said.
Latest statistics show that 7.2 percent of women of child-bearing age choose short-term contraception, up from 5.55 percent in 1992, while those who use traditional means drop from 41.66 percent in 1992 to the current 38.1 percent.
If China had not begun its family planning policy in the 1970s, the population would be more than 300 million bigger, official figures show.
With its continuous promotion of contraceptive measures, China has successfully controlled population growth, easing pressures on resources and the environment.
(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2002)