Beijing authorities plan to issue special cards to married women that will allow them to get condoms for free from vending machines placed throughout the city, state media said.
The machines, which will begin operating next month, will initially appear at 100 different locations in the city of 13 million people, the Beijing Times reported.
At the start of the pilot project, 60,000 married women will be issued with cards that entitle them to 12 packs of condoms a year.
The machines will help remove the awkwardness women feel when buying condoms from salespeople, the paper said.
Birth control is a top government priority in China and urban couples are usually restricted to having just one child, facing certain penalties if they decide to have a second baby.
(Agencies via Xinhua December 22, 2003)