Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Book throws harsh questions on Chinese sex education

A recent book portraying 13 high school students as "roses concealed in a school bag" for being brave to have sex but lacking knowledge and intimidated to share their stories has raised questions about China's sex education.


A recent book portraying 13 high school students as "roses concealed in a school bag" for being brave to have sex but lacking knowledge and intimidated to share their stories has raised questions about China's sex education.

"Roses Concealed in the School Bag" was written by a youth researcher and a youth media professional based on a survey of 13 Chinese students born between 1980 and 1984 who had sex in high school and has thrown harsh questions and challenges on China's sex education.

The survey result refuted Chinese people's stereotype of identifying those who date in high school and have sex as "playboys" and "school laggers".

It showed that half of the 13 students had excellent academic performance and one third came from prestigious high schools.

However, it also showed that none of them used protection on the first night.

Though all 13 held that their first night was "out of love and voluntary", they admitted that they were so "nervous and awkward" back then they hardly had any fun doing it.

The book showed that "all of them are totally dissatisfied with the sex education from their family and school and all of their parents have not learned about the facts till now".

Questions were raised by education experts with the publishing of the book, amid massive sex education campaigns reportedly launched across the country in recent years.

"What is really going on in sex education?" asked experts, followed by such thought-provoking quaestiones as "What is the purpose of Chinese education on sex? To ensure safety or to promote the idea of keeping a virgin? To satisfy the curiosity of youngsters with their developing sexual maturity or just to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases?"

Openly disseminating sexual knowledge used to be taboo in China, but as the country becomes more open to the world, compulsory courses opened in some Beijing high schools and condom vending machines appeared in some colleges.

But was that enough? Could the juveniles properly handle themselves and the consequences when choosing to have sex?

In a report in China Youth Daily, Zhang Yinmo, one of the co-writers of the book and also a female editor with eight years experience in youth magazines, told a true story not included in the book.

A high school girl had an abortion after falling pregnant, without telling her parents. She went to school the day after the operation, and ran a 1,000-meter-race test in her PE class five days later.

Before she finished it, she passed out and was left with a severe gynecological disease.

She happened to go to a medical college later and after one class on gynecology, she burst into tears, feeling heartbroken forher ignorance back then and worrying if she could have babies again.

"My heart is bleeding after reading," said China's famous female writer Bi Shumin after reading through the book. "I felt so sorry for the boys and girls."

Statistics showed that Chinese juveniles enter sexual maturity at 12 or 13, but get married at 20 to 26.

The period in-between, for about 10 years, or even longer, highlight the importance to promote the sex education.

Youngsters cried out in the book that they have the right to be aware.

"It is like when you are hungry, you need to eat. With my developing sexual maturity, I need sex," said Sun Bin, a high school student.

Sun Yunxiao, another writer of the book and vice director of the China Youth Research Institute, said he originally planned to write the survey result into a book report and hopefully exert influence on the decision-making educational officials, but "as we went on with the survey, we felt the result should go public and the whole society should move to deal with the pressing issue."

"The purpose of solely promoting the idea of keeping a virgin and preventing sex from happening is outdated now with great changes in people's way of thinking."

Chen Huichang, a psychology professor with Beijing Normal University, held that parents and the school should be responsible to tell the youngsters everything, not just knowledge about their developing sexual maturity, but possible influence of having sex that they may not be able to foresee at an early age.

"Then it is up to them to decide."

Questions?Comments? Click here

Sexual purity still very important to China's youth, survey shows

Sex education crucial for adolescents: experts

China Education Television (CETV) first to deal with sex


Indian navy to have two aircraft carriers by 2011 ( 116 Messages)

What's the meaning of Bush & Blair nominated as candidates for Nobel Peace Prize? ( 112 Messages)

Study: Americans eating themselves to death ( 80 Messages)

Japanese PM's remark on shrine visit leads to long-term cold relations with China: Kyodo ( 136 Messages)

French Presidents' China complex ( 73 Messages)

Copyright by People's Daily Online, all rights reserved