It goes without saying that China is a country of great contrasts and irony, and we were reminded of that fact with regards to sex and sex education.
A Reuters report tells us that social taboos in Chinese society still make it difficult to get across to people, whatever their sexual orientation, that condoms are a good idea if you’re expecting company in any of your bodily orifices. The article says that in Hong Kong, activists have made an impact, despite the fact that the number of HIV infections, especially among homosexuals, is on the rise throughout Asia’s cities.
In China, there are many NGOs and other institutions that are dedicated to spreading awareness about sex and HIV, and a quick perusal of the list of participants in the AIDS conference in Toronto shows that there will be a significant presence of groups from China and Hong Kong in attendance. On another note, Hong Kong is holding its first ever “Sex-worker Film Festival”, which quite appropriately, is being held low-budget style in a sex-worker advocacy office which is located in a “love hotel.”
However, much of the work of spreading AIDS and sex awareness has to begin in a society’s educational institutions. China’s middle and high schools now feature sexual education classes, and as many of you no doubt have seen, there are condom dispensers in places where people who are likely to get jiggy wid it live, work, or prefer to do the nasty nasty: construction sites, bars and clubs, schools.
So it’s a bit ironic when a high school girl is asked to leave a school for having a condom in her backpack. This school is in Yizheng, Jiangsu Province, and the student in question had her backpack stolen from a bathroom. Later, the backpack was found with a condom in it, and the school authorities for some reason decided that Xiao Feng was a bad influence on her classmates, and have asked her to leave the school. That report references another article from several weeks ago that pointed out that only about 20 percent of high school students would reject or think that underage sex is wrong. If indeed the condom belonged to her, it would show that, at worst, she lost some dare and had to buy a condom, and at best, that she’s conscious of the dangers associated with unprotected sex. To our minds, neither of these (or any other explanation for that matter) seems to constitute the negative influence that the school authorities consider her to be.
Photo from toptechwriter’s Flickr page