Nothing’s better for a book’s sales than a little notoriety, and right now no book in China is more notorious than “Cherish Life,” the controversial sex education textbook series that has the whole country talking.
Despite the fact that the textbooks are only in use in a handful schools, they recently became the topic of national debate after a mother of a Grade 2 kid in Hangzhou posted screenshots of her son’s textbook onto her Weibo account, wondering aloud if these are “fake textbooks.”
The suprisingly progressive books speaks frankily to primary schoolers about things like sexual abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and homosexuality. For instance, students learn that some people want to be with members of the opposite sex and some want to be with members of the same sex, and that’s all okay.
In the picture below, a man remarks how wonderful it is to return home to the delicious dinner prepared by his husband everyday after work.
They are also taught how life is conceived and how babies are made with the help of some realistic pictures:
“Daddy and mommy love each other” –> “Daddy’s penis enters mommy’s vagina” –> “Daddy’s sperm enters mommy’s uterus”
“Is it reasonable for a textbook to be compiled like this? I myself blush just looking at,” the mother wrote.
Apparently, many people around the country do think it’s reasonable. According to the Global Times, the textbooks, published by Beijing Normal University, are nearly out of stock in China’s largest online shopping platforms like Taobao, JD.com and Amazon.cn. The next batch isn’t due to be available until next week, but some parents can’t wait to get their hands on them.
“I never thought that the first book I would find sold out across the country in my life would be a textbook for primary school!” one man who wanted to buy the textbooks for his 10-year-old sister and brother told the Global Times.
While the textbooks have become a precious commodity elsewhere, the Hangzhou primary school where they were first introduced decided to withdraw the books after the controversy erupted. For the time being, sex education classes have been suspended at the school.
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