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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
CHINA: Sex Education Books Break Down Traditional Barriers
Ji Shaoting; Xu Xiaoqing
October 27, 2011
Xinhua News Agency (10.24.11) - Thursday, October 27, 2011

On Monday, the first school received a new sex education textbook expected to be introduced in 18 schools in Shanghai's Yangpu district. Monday's class was open to parents, education officials, and journalists.

Third-graders at a primary school affiliated with the Shanghai University of Science began learning lessons from the new "Boys and Girls" textbook, which is offered in three volumes for children of different ages across six grades.

In "Traffic Lights for Our Bodies," third-graders are taught about their anatomy and how to protect themselves. The children learn to recognize reproductive organs and sensitive areas, and hold up "red lights" or "green lights" when they see offensive or friendly gestures in pictures displayed by the teacher. The students also play a game in which they cover the private parts of cartoon human bodies with pieces of paper.

Parents "find it hard to talk about sex with our children, but the students have not been as shy as I imagined," said a mother named Chen Ying. "On the contrary, it was quite natural for the kids." "We designed the program to teach kids about gender," said Ding Limin, headmaster. "The program includes self-awareness, gender knowledge and ethics, as well as sexual harassment knowledge." In the first volume of "Boys and Girls," which targets first and second grades, the question "Where am I from?" is approached with cartoons and a story about conception. "Daddy and mommy fall in love and marry. Ova in mom's ovaries and sperm in dad's testes meet each other and then here you come!" the book says. For older students, lessons include identifying sexual assault and how to protect themselves.

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