China says ignorance of safe sex to blame for 13 million abortions a year

Beijing

More than 13 million abortions a year – or 1,500 an hour – are carried out in China, data from a government think tank has shown, and a major factor behind the number of unwanted pregnancies is that many young people don't know how to use contraceptives properly.

The figure, from the State Family Planning Commission's Science and Technology Research Institute, is all the more remarkable when you consider that the One Child Policy of population control has been in place for more than three decades, and a central plank of that policy is contraception.

In England and Wales last year there were 189,931 abortions, out of a population of 62.6 million, according to statistics from the Department of Health, while China's 13 million figure applies to a population of 1.34 billion. Comparing the statistics is difficult, because the two countries use different criteria, but in China every year 29.3 women per 1,000 have an abortion, compared with 17.5 per 1,000 in England and Wales.

Professor Wu Shangchun of the Science and Technology Research Institute told China Radio International: "The specific cause is about a half of the people are having sex without contraception, while the rest of the people are using 'safe periods' or external ejaculation as a contraceptive method. People are not sticking to scientifically proven methods, such as condoms. Less than 10 per cent said they use condoms every time."

A recent survey by the condom maker Durex found that only 12 per cent of young people in China say they are familiar with how to use a condom, because of social taboos about sex, fear of embarrassing themselves in front of their peers, or a lack of basic physiological knowledge. A survey by the China Population Communication Centre in 2009 and 2010, which covered more than 10,000 people in six cities – mostly unmarried teenagers – found that 49 per cent had not talked about sex with parents or teachers.

Six million abortions in China every year are carried out on women below the age of 25, most of whom are unmarried. The CRI report said 20 per cent of young women who had premarital sex became pregnant, and 90 per cent of them turned to abortion to end the unplanned pregnancy.

Fan Guangsheng, a doctor at Peking Union Medical College Hospital, said the abortion rate had been rising for a number of years. "The age of sexual maturity for people is earlier nowadays and they usually get married later than before. Therefore, the possibility of premarital sex is raised, and the greater possibility of unplanned pregnancies along with it," Dr Fan said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones