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Contraceptive museum plan misfires

By Xu Chi   (Shanghai Daily)

20:26, December 19, 2011

Plans to build a museum devoted to contraceptives in a base where teenagers receive military training has created controversy among the public.

Officials are considering building what would be the National Museum of Contraceptives in Rudong County, Jiangsu Province, reported the Modern Express newspaper.

It would include a 10,000-square-meter hall, an education center and a contraceptive theme park - no details of which were provided.

The proposed museum would tell the story of contraception in China through the ages and detail the achievements of birth control in Rudong County, government officials told the newspaper.

But the proposal has been criticized by some nearby residents who claim it would be inappropriate to locate the museum in a suburban area where young people are sent each year for military training, according to the newspaper report.

"Most of visitors to the base are teenagers or younger children, and I don't think a contraceptive museum and theme park is suitable for them," said one concerned web user.

However, there were also voices of support for the museum, with some netizens arguing that sex education should start early and that teenagers would learn about protection through visiting the museum.

"Some Chinese parents find it awkward to teach their children about sex, so the museum may help them in this task," said a web user with the username "Maomao" on the microblog.

The training base is used by tens of thousands of pupils each year. But with the exception of these teenagers sent by their schools to receive military training there, very few people visit the area, said the Modern Express.

In response to the controversy, Rudong government officials told the newspaper that the contraceptives museum is still merely a proposal.

While staff have submitted plans to senior officials, the proposal has not yet received the go-ahead, the newspaper said.

"We're trying to get the plan passed but it's still too early to say whether it will be approved," Tao Jie, an official of the county's birth control department, told the newspaper.

"So far, we haven't deeply thought about the construction plan of the museum," Tao admitted.

Tao told the newspaper that officials came up with the idea of setting up a contraceptives museum during conversations after work.

Some birth control officials believed the museum may help residents learn more about birth control. It can help promote the county, Tao said, adding the county's achievements in birth control made it well-suited to host such a museum.

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