--- SEARCH ---
Learning Chinese
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes
Exchange Rates
Hotel Service

Hot Links
China Development Gateway
Chinese Embassies

China Targets Adolescent Health with Sex Education
All first-grade students in junior middle schools of Jiashan City, east China's Zhejiang Province, received a special card on sexual health on July 11, the World Population Day.

The theme of this year's World Population Day is "One billion young people, we have good health, we long for respect and we have the right to participate".

To mark the day, the educational department of Zhejiang made the card, which contains a poem calling for young people to cherish their "golden time" and learn to protect their sexual health, and provides sexual knowledge in the form of a "girls talk" and "boys talk".

In addition, the card also includes introductions to the organizations and hot lines which will provide them sexual health knowledge in puberty and support if they need it.

About one billion of the world's population are aged 15 to 24, including nearly 200 million in China. But most of the 200 million youngsters, who are sexually active, receive no education about safe sex from schools or parents because in traditional Chinese culture, "sex" has long been considered a taboo subject that few discuss openly.

In the past, most children got only evasive responses or even a scolding for "embarrassing" questions, such as "How was I brought to this world" and "What are the differences between men and women?"

Some parents would simply say "Mom picked you up on the road", while others would not answer at all, taking it for granted that the children would learn about it themselves when they came of age.

But because of a lack of formal and proper sex education, many youngsters in China have tried to get information from adult websites and pornographic videos or books. As a result, pregnancies, premarital sex and sexually transmitted diseases have risen among teenagers in recent years.

Compared to the early 1980s, when only 10 percent of Chinese young people in urban areas had had premarital sex, more than 50 percent of young people today have had premarital sex, and the proportion is higher in coastal cities.

More notably, the average age for those having premarital sex is becoming increasingly younger, sources said.

The fifth national census in 2001 showed that in Zhejiang, the birth rate among women whose age is below 20, the legal age for marriage in China, reached 2.37 per 1,000.

"Many people think that sex education is only about sexual behavior and shy away from this issue. In fact, it contains information on sexual physiology, psychology, morality and so on," said Li Yangping, an official with the Zhejiang Provincial Family Planning Committee.

"If we had carried out sex education earlier and provided more services to help young people to make wise decisions, many risks or even crimes could be avoided," said Li, adding that the crucialstep in the sex education of teenagers was to help them to establish a correct attitude to sex.  

Fortunately, the government has also acknowledged the importance and urgency of the issue and has encouraged sex education in school.

Early in 2002, China's first textbook on sex education was published and put into use at primary and secondary schools in northeastern Heilongjiang Province.

In March 2003, China's first VCD series on sex education for primary and middle school students was issued in the southernmost province of Hainan to enlighten school children on sexual ethics, behavior, procreation and contraception, AIDS prevention and anti-drug warnings.

China's first emergency contraception center was set up in Chongqing the same month to help young girls out of the embarrassment of unexpected pregnancies.

In addition, a growing number of primary and secondary schools in major Chinese cities have included comprehensive sex education courses in their curriculum.

In Zhejiang, 2,217 urban communities have set up community schools to carry out puberty education and some even established websites to information through the Internet.

Experts also called for adults to have such classes to adjust their attitudes to sex so as to build up a sound social environment for young people.

(Xinhua News Agency July 14, 2003)

Student Groups Try to Teach Each Other
Schools Need Better Sex Education
Online Sex Education Under Test in Shanghai
China Issues First Sex Education VCD Series
TV Series to Promote Sex Education
Ban on Condom Ads Set to Go
Print This Page
Email This Page
About Us SiteMap Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-68326688