Sex, China, and Abortions- 人流


Chinese people consider themselves to be “traditional,” especially when it comes to their openness on the topic of sex.  In their society, it is a positive thing to strive to come off to others as being conservative because it is sign of being good-natured. However, this is the modern age and even people from this country are experiencing extraordinary exposure to liberal society through the process of globalization.  The West has had time to develop and mature in this area whereas China has some catching up to do. Because Chinese consider themselves too “traditional” to discuss sex openly, they are leaving themselves vulnerable to some devastating societal contradictions.

Lack of Awareness

The talk of the “birds and the bees” is something almost everyone in the US has with their parents in one form or another (for me, it was my mother buying condoms, placing them in my medicine cabinet and telling me to request more when I am out and an awkward talk with my father).  Unfortunately, affection at home or in public is mostly absent in China today (parents and children don’t even say “I love you” to each other), so this is to say that talk of sex at home is far from occurring.

Not only is “the talk” absent from homes, schools do not even have curriculum on sex education (middle school students are too busy learning physics).  Part of the reason why is because most young individuals are too weighed down with the laborious Chinese education system to have a chance to experiment with sex; however, just like the rest of the world, Chinese youth are curious and finding ways to get around the system as anywhere else in the world.  This is where the Chinese government has failed to address a rapidly evolving problem, because they simply don’t want to acknowledge the fact that–oh, my God!young people actually have sexual intercourse.

Fundamentally, Chinese youth are left with very little sources of information on sexual intercourse, including the risks.  People have actually told me before that their primary source of understanding sex was from pornography or films from the West, others are absolutely clueless about what AIDS or STDs/HIVs are, and they are not sure exactly how devastating they can be.  Another issue is the prevalence of unwanted pregnancies and abortions, which is a direct cause of the lack of awareness of other viable options.

“Face” and Cultural Taboos

As was discussed above, Chinese do not openly show their affections very easily.  People are expected to keep that to their private homes, but it’s also not very common for married couples to show their affection for one another in front of their children (rarely kissing, sometimes hugging, maybe holding hands).  Largely, this is all related to how Chinese place importance on something called “face” which is how you are looked at by others.  In other words, to avoid public shame or criticism, Chinese will try to hide certain emotions such as affection as a protective measure of their “face.”

As a cause, no education on contraceptives is available to Chinese youth, and the counselor’s offices do not offer free condoms, etc.  Widespread movements for safe sexual engagements that can be seen on Western college campuses are absent.  One might then question how many men are aware of the benefits of the use of condoms?  Likewise, how many Chinese women have considered the use of “the Pill”?  In fact, most Chinese do not take Western-style medicine because they believe in the body’s natural process of healing.  This means that most females are actually frighten-off by the idea of dependence upon a pill. This brings us to the most important point.

China’s Best “Birth Control” aka Abortion


According to this BBC report, there are approximately 13 million abortions performed every year in China.  In fact, abortion is accepted in all manners, including on request and is a government service.  The UN provides a full report on China’s abortion policy here.  This report claims as I have indicated above: Chinese generally do not use condoms or the pill, married couples use IUDs or sterilization methods; however, the most across-the-board birth control has been abortion.  Millions of these are repeat abortions. (image above is from

_46132551_abortions_births_466Shocking Price of an Abortion

Finally, I think it is important to note that it has been reported that an abortion in China will cost around the neighborhood of 3000RMB or $500.

人流 (rénliú)- abortion


5 thoughts on “Sex, China, and Abortions- 人流

  1. That cost of an abortion in China is shocking. $500 is a lot. It should be free and so should the counseling to make sure the pregnant women isn’t being forced to have an abortion and she really wants it for whatever reason. The reason is her business.

    Other than that, all those abortions haven’t slowed up China’s population growth. Does the world really need more humans?

    For instance, the World Population clock says we are already at 7.3 billion, and according to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty—that is more than 8 million a year. I’m sure that the children who starved to death or died from malnutrition suffered 100% more than the fetuses that were legally aborted during the first 13 weeks of a pregnancy when the fetus is the size of a kidney bean.

    In fact, at 21 weeks (few if any abortions take place after this week), the average fetus weighs three-quarters of a pound and is about the size of a carrot. After birth, infants’ brains grew by 64 percent in the first 90 days, according to the study. The average brain size was 20 cubic inches (341 cubic centimeters) at birth, and 34 cubic inches (558 cubic cm) at 90 days. In other words, the brains of newborns grew from about 33 percent of the average adult brain size to 55 percent of it in three months.

    Last of all to mature is the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for most of what we think of as mental life–conscious experience, voluntary actions, thinking, remembering, and feeling. It has only begun to function around the time gestation comes to an end. Premature babies show very basic electrical activity in the primary sensory regions of the cerebral cortex–those areas that perceive touch, vision, and hearing–as well as in primary motor regions of the cerebral cortex. In the last trimester, fetuses are capable of simple forms of learning, like habituating (decreasing their startle response) to a repeated auditory stimulus, such as a loud clap just outside the mother’s abdomen.

    More important is the suffering of the adult women who don’t want a baby for whatever reason and illegal abortions in countries with punitive laws see the adult woman who had an illegal abortion suffer even more.

    In fact, 21.6 million women experience an unsafe abortion worldwide each year; 18.5 million of these occur in developing countries. 47 000 women die from complications of unsafe abortion each year. Deaths due to unsafe abortion remain close to 13% of all maternal deaths.

    Who suffers more, the 21.6 million women who risk an unsafe abortion each year or the fetus from the 89% – 92% of all annual abortions that happen during the first trimester prior to the 13th week of gestation when the fetus is about the size of a kidney bean and the brain is so small, it hardly exists?


  2. 3000rmb for an abortion? Wow, I thought that since abortions are quite common, they would be cheaper and more affordable than that, it’s really a lot to pay. I’m guessing that’s in a proper hospital and back street clinics/ Chinese traditional methods may be cheaper, but still. It’s expensive in one respect, but such a small price on somebody’s life.


    • Medical care in China started to change after Mao died. Today, medical care in China doesn’t offer free cradle to grave medical care for most of its people as it did under Mao—unless they belong to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Similar to the U.S. Congress and the White House in the U.S., members of the CCP have the best medical care in the country. Everyone else has to pay and often that means bribes in addition to whatever the medical procedure costs. Many doctors in China depend on those bribes to buy their luxury flats and cars.

      In many cases, if a poor family doesn’t have the money for the illegal bribe, then their loved one who has a terminal disease goes home and dies, because they are refused medical care. Just like the U.S., China now has a pay or die medical system for most of its people.


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