Beijing U. and Tsinghua U. halt free condoms handout

After all the fanfare I’ve been hearing about giving out condoms in China to fight AIDS, this is surprising.

China’s top two universities have suspended a free handout of condoms, describing the plan as inappropriate.

China is grappling with AIDS but the country’s top two universities do not want their students touching condoms.

Beijing University and Tsinghua University yesterday stopped a disease prevention centre handing out 2,500 free condoms.

Administrators said it was not acceptable and that organisers had not obtained approval.

Despite the urgent need to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, conservative attitudes about sex in China often keep the prevention message from being broadly publicised.

I wonder what brought on this change of heart…? Recent stories like this had given me hope this would become a nationwide movement. I should learn by now never to get my hopes up about China becoming more liberal about sex. (Anyone remember the Vagina Monologues fiasco last winter?)

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 4 Comments

When you think about it, it’s quite easy to see why, or a least I think its easy to see why.

If students have condoms then they will have sex and they will have relationships. This cuts down on study time and leads to free thinking, both of which are seen as bad in China.

If Chinese students were free thinking then they might question what was being taught or how the country was being run, and if they had less time to study then they would make the college look bad and as if it couldn’t control its own students.

We know that students are having sex, but if your a ninty year old dean then you probably don’t.

November 24, 2004 @ 7:47 pm | Comment

But they’re having sex anyway, an unfortunate result of the increasing social freedom and creeping Western influence. Not that there’s anything wrong with having sex –but it’s helped fuel the explosion in venereal disease and AIDS in China. So please, Mr. Hu, get out on the streets and start handing out free condoms.

November 24, 2004 @ 7:57 pm | Comment

You and I both know that they are having sex. Do the deans?

Chinese institutes are still in denial and still treat their students like middle school pupils. They know that their doing something that they don’t want them to do, and they sure aren’t going to make it any easier for them to do these things

November 24, 2004 @ 8:01 pm | Comment

Yup, ACB, you seem to have hit the nail on the head. Trouble is, and it’s a little off topic, the students are already thinking for themselves, along with all those other things they’re not supposed to be doing. My partner would be a good example. She’s not a great fan of her school’s admin and she’s well aware of the lack of competence in the teaching staff. Not only that, but free condoms……

Could save us a bit of money, anyway.

The thing is, Richard, that people are somehow managing to find the information anyway, and these super-conservative leaders are on their way out. Let’s just hope, for the sake of us all, that this translates into better management sometime sooner rather than later. But just so you don’t get too depressed, here’s a branch of the Chinese media agreeing with you.

November 25, 2004 @ 3:36 am | Comment

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