By Tiantian Zheng (auth.)
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Additional resources for Ethnographies of Prostitution in Contemporary China: Gender Relations, HIV/AIDS, and Nationalism
Yu 1956). People with venereal diseases were prohibited from marrying according to the 1950 Marriage Law. Sex was restricted to and authorized only within marriage, and couples were advised to have intercourse no more than two times every week (F. Li 1958). It was emphasized repeatedly that human beings were “advanced animals” (gaoji dongwu) who had a natural desire to procreate. “It is one’s heavenly duty (tianzhi) to be parents” (W. Wang 1957, 68). “The purpose [of sex] is not to satisfy instinctive desires but to pursue a beautiful life.
Birth control information was only imparted to women who had more than three children and was unavailable to newly married couples and women with one to two children (B. Dong 1965). Condoms were not made available in the countryside, and people still carried doubts and fears about contraception and sterilization (Y. Zhang 1964). For instance, sterilization was compared to eunuchization and castration of a cock, and contraception was deemed inappropriate for newly married couples because it would deteriorate their relationships and affect their health (Anon.
Wang proposed drowning female children and physically abnormal or unattractive sons. He wanted to impose a tax on daughters to encourage infanticide. He also wanted to construct temples, nunneries, and halls of chastity to encourage celibacy. Anticipating the one-child policy, he even wanted to compel women who had already given birth to take abortifacient drugs. As shocking as infanticide is, it was a common practice in Europe and in Asia until the eighteenth century. Yan Fu advocated banning early marriage and a role for doctors in eliminating inferior babies.