FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Chinese Youngsters Need Better Sex Education

by

Lack of proper sex education, particularly in schools, is having some serious health consequences on Chinese youngsters. Today, an increasing number of Chinese adolescents are engaging in premarital sexual activity in many cases without any knowledge of how to better protect themselves from its effects. As a result, teenage pregnancy and premarital abortion have become major public health issues.

There are increasing numbers of unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) –including HIV/AIDS- among young adults. In recent years, China has had an upsurge of syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia, and the country is in an early stage of a major HIV/AIDS epidemic. It is estimated that at least 7,000 youths are HIV positive.

According to the latest reproductive health survey carried out in China -which involved 22,000 adolescents- over 22 percent among them had had premarital sex. Because of lack of knowledge, of this 22 percent who had premarital sex 21.3 percent of females had an unwanted pregnancy, and 91 percent of those pregnancies ended up in abortion.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission reports that approximately 13 million abortions are performed annually in China. However, Marie Stopes International, a reproductive-health agency, estimates that the real figure could be as high as 40 million when considering the sales of domestic drugs used for terminating pregnancies. That would represent a high proportion of abortions performed worldwide.

What makes the situation even more serious is that girls requesting abortions are doing so at younger ages. Many parents refuse that their children be taught condom use, hoping that they may never engage in pre-marital sexual activities. This lack of knowledge may be responsible, in part, for high pregnancy and abortion rates.

Increasingly, schools and communities have been implementing sex education programs for adolescents. In many cases, emphasis on those programs is generally placed in increasing adolescents’ knowledge of anatomical and physiological facts of human reproduction. Contraceptive methods, however, are usually excluded from these classes. This happens because sex education teachers, school administrators and policymakers are concerned that they would be blamed for condoning or encouraging adolescent sexual activities.

Adolescents who become sexually active need information about the proper use of contraceptives and how to prevent STIs, as well as, in the case of girls, how to negotiate their refusal to engage on sexual relations with their male companions. It has been proven that emphasizing abstinence in youngsters is not an effective way to stop them from having sexual relations.

In this regard, a study conducted in Shanghai and published in 2005 in the magazine International Family Planning Perspectives found that teaching contraceptive education and negotiation skills are important components to include in comprehensive sex education programs in China. In this regard Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Shenzhen are part of an early network of cities that have implemented such curriculum.

Because many educators give more importance that their students score high in exams so as to get them into good universities, they don’t give too much importance to teach their students sex education issues. As a result, many young Chinese resort to the Internet and to pornographic sites for information, which is not always accurate.

Fortunately, “the Chinese government’s general attitude toward sexuality and sex education has become more open,” told the China Daily Li Yinhe, a Fellow with the Institute of Sociology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “Compared to older generations in China, teenagers in the 21st century have more access to sexual knowledge,” she added.

Sex education is compulsory in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, which are countries that share similar cultural values. China has begun to move forward on providing sex education for its younger generations. Now is the time to make it more comprehensive, and more effective.

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
Tommy Raskin
Syrian Quicksand
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Still Tries to Push Dangerous Drug Class
Jill Richardson
The Attorney General Thinks Aspirin Helps Severe Pain – He’s Wrong
Mike Miller
Herb March: a Legend Deserved
Ann Garrison
If the Democrats Were Decent
Renee Parsons
The Times, They are a-Changing
Howard Gregory
The Democrats Must Campaign to End Trickle-Down Economics
Sean Keller
Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East
Ron Jacobs
Re-Visiting Gonzo
Eileen Appelbaum
Rapid Job Growth, More Education Fail to Translate into Higher Wages for Health Care Workers
Ralph Nader
Shernoff, Bidart, and Echeverria—Wide-Ranging Lawyers for the People
Chris Zinda
The Meaning of Virginia Park
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail