China Lifts Ban on Condom Ads

September 29, 2014
Editor: Sophia Zhu

China officially lifted the ban on advertising condom use in July this year, enabling condom manufacturers and public health organizations to finally promote safe sexual practices in China.

In 2009, China formally joined in the global campaign to promote safe sex by participating in World Contraception Day. Falling annually on September 26, World Contraception Day aims to make the fight against sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy a key issue in human development.

The ban on advertising any sex-related product was implemented in 1989. Since then, there have been no sex-related products advertised on TV in China.

Twelve female lawyers from all over China sent a letter to the government recommending the removal of the ban on condom advertisements.

"I usually see a lot of ads about abortion on campus and students are often led to believe that abortion is a method of contraception." A college student Zhang Leilei from Hubei Province said, "In fact, abortion is not a method of contraception, and it’s only a last resort after a contraceptive failure. The lack of promoting contraceptive knowledge has led to ignorance on the subject."

According to the latest survey data collated by the organizing committee of the 2014 World Contraception Day (Note: 1,000 women aged 18-35 were surveyed in China, with 50 percent of respondents being in the 18-25 range and 50 percent being in the 26-35 range covering 14 cities), the research had engaged in unprotected sex in the last six months.

Each year China sees up to 13 million abortions, and about half of the women seeking to terminate their pregnancy had never given birth before. Wu Shangchun, professor of the Science and Technology Research Institute under the National Health and Family Planning Commission said that about half of Chinese women having an abortion in a given year have previously had abortions and that women under the age of 25 account for about one third of women who were pregnant for the first time. About 82 percent of women over the past six months have conducted unprotected sex, nearly forty percent of women have conducted numerous unprotected sex; 32.7 percent women have had sex during periods and coitus interrupts to avoid pregnancy, and even 58.1 percent of women believe that these two methods have little or no risk of failure.

Women's Media Monitoring Network Leader Lv Pin said there are many methods of contraception, citing condoms, inter-uterine devices, long-acting contraceptives, short-acting contraceptives, and vasectomies for men. However, abortion is not a method of contraception, but a remedial measure after a contraceptive failure.

"Today, abortion and a variety of contraceptive products have very little advertising and this is leading to a lot of people never using any contraceptive measures, and thus leading to many unwanted pregnancies and ultimately abortions or abandoned infants," said Lv.

(Source: by Women of China)

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