Disturbing Commercial

18 Oct 2004

Last month I was in Yinchuan on business. I normally hate watching TV in China, but when I’m on a business trip, bored in a hotel at night, I’ll often turn the TV on. It was on one such instance that I happened to see a commercial which really disturbed me.

The beginning of the commercial had a man and a woman doing a soap opera-esque scene. I don’t remember it too clearly, because I wasn’t paying close attention at that point. Then in big letters some words popped on the screen: “Pregnant? Don’t know what to do?

I braced myself.

“Then let us take care of it!” they excitedly urged. The camera was panning a clean, attractive medical clinic. Yes, I was watching a TV commercial for an abortion clinic.

That was bad enough, but what totally went beyond tasteless was the “procedure” scene. There was a sideshot of a woman on the operating table, a doctor at her feet. The doctor’s hands were doing something between the woman’s legs, which was blocked by the woman’s legs and hospital gown. Meanwhile the narration continued, promising a fast, painless procedure that would not harm chances of future pregnancy.

I was repulsed. Regardless of your views on the morality of abortion, I think everyone can agree that it’s not a procedure which should be taken lightly.

I told my girlfriend about the commercial and asked if she’d ever seen a commercial like that on TV. She said no. She said a commercial like that would not get on the air in Shanghai.

She then went on to tell me that a lot of girls she knows (most of them young) have had abortions. One girl she knew was 23, married, and wanted to have a child, but couldn’t because she had had three abortions and was no longer capable of having children.

It all just makes me so sad….

NOTE: I’m a tolerant guy, but this is an especially sensitive issue. If your comment is intentionally offensive or tasteless it’s going to be deleted without hesitation.

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John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

Comments

  1. Yes, it is a shame that money matters more than morality, ethics and even healthly choices in this world. Some things should not be so trivialized or blatantly advertised. And in this overly P.C. world I am worried that this comment (my opinion) will be view with hatred. John, I think you made a reasonable statement.

  2. Car, I am about as pro-choice as they come, but I completely agree with you and don’t find your opinion offensive at all. I as well find John’s analysis very reasonable. Ningxia is pretty backwater however and I am sure they are facing severe economic issues that they percieve are a direct result of too much breeding (not to justify the commercial of course, because they are wrong).

  3. I was thinking about this recently, after reading transcripts of the recent US presidential debates. It seems to me that, at least in the US, there’s only one side to the “issue”. Everyone agrees that it’s a Bad Thing, they just disagree about the level of Bad, and whether or not one should have the option to do a Bad Thing when it’s (perceived to be) in one’s best interests.

    I’ve personally known several Chinese girls in their early twenties who’ve had abortions, and they all seemed to view it as simply a type of ex post facto birth control. I have to say that I’ve started to agree. So I’m curious: Is there anyone outside of China who views abortion as nothing more than a voluntary, if somewhat risky, medical procedure?

  4. Anonymous Says: October 19, 2004 at 2:14 am

    John:
    it is a sensitive issue, it is so said in chinese culture, abortion is only considered a shame.

    Many many many of my friends had one or two abortions—at the same time chinese try to experience sex before marriage, some of them, especially men are less responsible of taking any birth control actions. So girls have to handle this procedure because the social pressure make it immpossible to raise a kid out of wedlock. Getting rid of the kid seems the only option.

    Even we do not talk about the killing aspect of many religious people hate. there are 3 things I hate most.
    1. young people–especially many of them are not teenager, most of my friends had sex when they were 22, 23, or much older. they still seem to like to take chances. I wish they could do more protection if they know they don’t want to have kids.
    2. the social pressure. having sex before marriage is such a big scandal –still- but almost everybody does it. so if you are not married, you can not publiclly admit that you are having sex. girls pretend they are still virgins, or stupid guys still want to be the first one to have sex with the woman they are going to marry. in the mean time, they all want to have sex before marriage.
    3. no social protection. in china, if you work for government owned company, even if you are MARRIED. before you are pregnant, you need to have a permission for getting pregnant!!! some of my coworkers found they were pregnant, even they did not have a kid yet, and they were married. they still had to get rid of baby, otherwise, you might lose your job, or your kid had no medical, and you lose your chance to get promotion. —some of them can get away by using Guanxi to keep the baby.
    but if you were pregnant out of wedlock. then you will lose everything. not only the shame goes with you and your kid forever. but also your kid does not have a normal residency. so your kid can not register to normal school, your kid is simply considered ‘not exist’.


    it is very disturbing…also because chinese simple accept it as a fact, a shame, nobody talks about it , does something about it excepting gossipping:(

  5. Anonymous Says: October 19, 2004 at 2:14 am

    last one was by Edel

  6. I noticed the same thing. One “side” of the abortion issue in the US views it as evil — murder, basically. The other “side” views it as bad, but not evil. It is basically considered a shameful family secret when somone gets an abortion in the US — no matter what your political views. To most Chinese, it seems more like a trip to the dentist. It just doesn’t have the stigma attached to it like in the US. So I think John made a reasonable statement, but one that only Americans could relate to (in a way).

    The only real political solution, as Kodos pointed out: “Abortions for some, little American flags for others.”

  7. Anonymous Says: October 19, 2004 at 2:18 am

    in US, even it is a shame. the kid is still considered a citizen, he/she is still protected. the parent can still buy medical insurance for them. if it is only the shame aspect, I believe many chinese woman can live with it.

    Edel

  8. It is very unfortunate how the Chinese value human life as insignificant.

    On the lighter note, I saw an Asthma Prevention poster in U.S. with a kitten on it.

  9. Da Xiangchang Says: October 19, 2004 at 3:45 am

    Well, it all depends whether you consider a fetus a “human life” or not. Obviously, most Chinese do not, but to say Chinese view human life as insignificant is a stupid, ridiculous claim.

    Personally, I think abortion is murder, but I’m also pro-choice. And I find absolutely nothing wrong with an abortion commercial. Of course, the Chinese should promote more condom use, but with a major overpopulation problem, abortion is sometimes the only way left. Of course, it’s better if the baby’s adopted someplace, but that isn’t an option in many places in China. But, in the end, the problem isn’t an abortion commercial but rather not using condoms enough.

  10. Nothing wrong with an abortion commercial, but the one John described was too graphic and tasteless.

  11. Probably the only thing more horrible than an abortion is a forced, unwanted pregnancy. And while I would certainly disagree with the tone of the commercial. Isn’t it a good thing that the options are out there.

    I’d ask why should we be repulsed?

    What’s wrong with showing a “clean, attractive medical clinic”? That’s what I’d want if I was having any other invasive surgery?

    Offering a “fast, painless procedure that would not harm chances of future pregnancy” is not necessarily taking the issue lightly. Removing the fear of the actual event may help someone who has to make the terrifying, horrible decision to go through an abortion.

    Perhaps some people prefer their dirty little secrets dealt with in dirty little alley ways. Out of sight out of mind. But if you accept that abortions are going to happen, isn’t it better to remove the grubbiness from them.

    I feel abortion is a tragic last resort, and would try to counsel anyone in my home coutry away from it. Here I don’t feel I have enough knowledge to do that.

  12. I think we need to be more careful in how this issue is debated.There seem to be two aspects of the commercial people are taking offence at: one is aesthetic,ie the ad is tasteless in its graphical depiction, the other is ethical: abortion is murder, or abortion is just birth control, or the advertiser is bad for turning abortions into a profit making thing. I think these two aspects need to be pretty clearly delineated and kept separate before criticizing the whole thing. What I’m saying is that if an abortion is a sensitive issue, it does not simply follow that the ad is aesthetically tasteless, and more importantly, although abortion is not a pretty thing by anyone’s standards (I hope), it does not simply follow that it is morally wrong. My point is, ethical considerations aside, in a climate hijacked by ill-informed postmodern political correctness, could it not be argued that by avoiding (perhaps just due to the lack of a precedence on abortion ads) the aestheticization of abortion by its graphical depiction, the advertiser is at least being, say somewhat more honest or truthful at a minimum about the procedure of abortion?
    Consider tampon commercials in the west. Advertisers go to great lengths to disassociate the product from the still pretty taboo reality of menstruation – the clours blue and white always dominate, women are shown happily doing anything, except that taboo thing and so on. These ads are sanitized and aestheticized to such an extent that I can only conclude their underlying message is that “yes, menstruation is a bad thing that doesn’t really happen except in vague, connotative, dissociated worlds where everyone is always ‘dry’.” Which only serves to repress the whole issue further and make it more tasteless.
    Now I guess, because modern, progressive societies don’t draw any ethical implications from the fact that women have periods, the end result, while discomfiting is not very devastating.
    However, imagine if we started seeing abortion ads with shiny white clinics, and happy women leaving with big smiles on their faces. Political/ideological issues aside if I may, wouldn’t such a depiction finally be even more tasteless, just for its sanitization of an extremely sensitive issue which often does have siginifant health consequences?
    For this reason I don’t think you can criticize the ad for being tasteless. Sure, you can criticize it for trivializing an extremely sensitive issue without drawing any moral implication about abortion, but that shouldn’t be connected to its being tasteless. In a postmodern world where values are relative we tend to be left drawing ethical implications from aesthetic considerations, a fairly predicatble historical outcome I think. However, it’s not the right approach – you can’t make a claim for “right” or “wrong” based on an aesthetic judgement, or explicitly or implicitly support such a claim by drawing on aesthetic notions of what is tasteful and what isn’t.

  13. Just a few observations: While I was working in Vietnam, I was talking with a Nurse (Canadian) who told me that she was working with a clinic in Ho Chi Minh City because Vietnam had a serious problem. Too many women were getting multiple abortions resulting in a significant increase in infertility among women. The government was looking into a way to restrain population growth but without such a problem for individuals.

    The second observation was something I read a number of years ago. In Japan, where abortion is (or was) practiced rather widely; many women, nevertheless, at one festival day each year laid flowers or other items for remembrance to aborted fetus. Many women, not all, but many did feel a sadness for the life that did not come into being. People make choices, but sometimes the results are sad.

  14. I’m usually just an observer but I want to jump in. I live in Atlanta, and you may or may not know that the same guy that set off the bomb during the Olympics also bombed a couple of abortion clinics here. This debate was such a hot topic for a while that at times it would lead to violence, but there was always only 2 sides, for or against. Never have I heard anything said (rape aside) about the individuals acting responsible in the first place. There are many ways to get off and many protection options. In the US, this lack of responsibility often leads to welfare cases that tax payers have to deal with. I believe in the rights of the mother but what about thinking before you act in the first place?

    Also, for what it’s worth, I have 3 yr old adopted Chinese daughter and am adoping again from China in the Spring. In other words, I’m removed from responsibility, I shoot blanks.

    Keith

  15. This is wonderful. To your Chinese audience it shows how divisive this issue is in the US and how passionate people are about their believes.

  16. In no way does the commercial encourage women to have an abortion. It’s simply offering clean facilities to those who choose to have one. As for the graphical depiction of the woman on the operation table, I see nothing insensitive about it. That is simply what an abortion procedure look like. Those who think that the picture is crude might be projecting their own feelings of ashame associated with the procedure onto the commercial.
    In America, people believe abortion is wrong, or at least a sad thing, because of the deeply rooted Judeo/Christian belief system. It doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist in America, it’s hard to deny the influences of such a strong force in society. There is no such underlying principles in modern Chinese society, so the attitudes toward abortion are conceivably different from those held in the US. People get abortions because of the one-child policy or because they became pregnant out of wedlock. Simple as that.

  17. I remember in chinese class in china we had a debate about premarital sex. One half of the class was forced to be for it (or for it not being taboo), and my half had to be against it. We came up with a couple reasons to be against it, one of which was getting pregnant without being married. We mentioned the problems of getting pregnant during the debate and the teacher jumped in and said “well that’s not a problem, here you can just go to the hospital and get that taken care of.” That’s when i realized how differently from americans the chinese view abortions.

  18. One of the things that shocked me when I moved to the United States was the rampant advertising on television for medical products… something presumably a question of life and death for patients.

  19. Anonymous Says: October 20, 2004 at 5:31 am

    I am pro choice too but I think abortion is a serious business, people should not try it for fun.

  20. I disagree with DaXiangChang with his claim that Chinese view human life as insignificant. I think this is very MUCH the case. Sure Chinese care for their friends and family members’ lives but many couldn’t care less about other members of the public. Of course, this is a general statement and doesn’t account for all Chinese people but it’s a societal problem.

    Here are some examples:

    1. They hire rural people to work on construction sites with little or no training

    2. They leave open manholes on the street

    3. Often construction sites aren’t sealed off or are sealed off in a way that still allows easy access.

    4. They drive with reckless abandon

    5. They allow people to die in the hospital without providing medical help.

    6. The government ‘mishandled’ SARS in its early stages…

    The list could go on and on…

  21. In response to Edel’s comment above, does anyone know of an American medical plan that covers abortion? Just curious.

    I grew up in California. Condoms were handed out in high school. I think in many states in the south, for example Texas, only abstinence is taught in schools. The cultural divide in the U.S. is real and huge.

    To my knowledge Chinese middle schools have no “sex education”. Is that true?

    But, I think in Eastern China condoms are available in every convenience store. Also, birth control pills used to be available in the pharamacy without perscription. Is that still true?

    Can anyone shed some light on the situation in poorer parts of China?

    In my view, all women should have access to birth control so that they can have more control over their lives. Access includes education. Whether or not you condone pre-marital sex doesn’t matter. Reasonable people agree that abortion is bad, whether you are pro-choice or not. Better access to birth control leads to less abortion.

    The birth of unwanted babies leads to great suffering many of those babies, especially in poor areas.

    Murder is wrong. But is it always the greatest evil? As Americans, we routinely make decisions that result in the death and even murder of many people. For example, by insisting on free market vaccine production, we contribute to the death of 30,000 Americans who die of the flu every year. To depose Saddam Hussein, we kill ~30,000 Iraqis (so far), 1000 of our young men and women and maim 10,000 more (so far). Whether or not you believe Iraq is a just war, you must admit that our decision makers have balanced the death of tens of thousands (including children) against other priorities. As a final example, by removing funding from NGOs and development programs that, as a small part of their total programs, promote access to birth control and abortion to women in developing countries, we remove many women’s opportunity to take responsibility for their and their babies lives. My point is “murder is wrong” doesn’t automatically win the abortion argument.

    Respect for life? The majority of Americans seem to value access to firearms higher the human right to freedom from fear and violence on our city streets. There were three murders on my mother’s block in Oakland in the last six months. She is afraid to go outside after dark. In Shanghai I only worry about my wallet getting stolen. In China, guns are illegal.

    Respect for life? Many of the people who are anti-abortion in the States condone the death penalty. In the U.S. we even execute people who were children when they committed their crimes, something (correct me if I’m wrong) China does not do.

  22. Da Xiangchang Says: October 20, 2004 at 11:51 pm

    I never said China values human life as much as America does. No totalitarian government ever vaues its citizens as much as a democracy.

    What I said was the idea that “the Chinese”–that is, ALL Chinese–see human life as being insignificant is a stupid, ridiculous statement. Of course, this isn’t the case.

    One way for China to decrease aboritions would not doubt give rubbers away for free. Condoms in China cost A LOT, even the crappy kind. I went into a convenience store, and I forgot the price, but it was like 50Y or something. Since many people only make 1000Y a month in China, there’s no surprise then that people decide not to use condoms. This is a direct failiing of the Chinese government–this lack of free condoms.

  23. Get rid of the electoral vote, enact tougher campaign finance reform, introduce automatic run-off elections–do all these things and I will show you a healthy democracy. What are we Americans afraid of? It’s not ignorant farmers anymore (the reason the electoral college exists). By the way, if China looks at ways to expand voting beyond the village level, they might do well to consider the electoral college system. It has provided the U.S. a nice mixture of democracy and oligarchy for most of our history to protect us from farmers’ ignorance.

  24. Three thoughts on this:

    1) Another teacher had a discussion with a student, a girl about 15 years old. In her broken (but good for her age) English, she explained to him that an abortion was simply “making the baby go away”. He, an American, was pretty much dumbfounded – I forget his position on abortion, but he was used to people of both stripes feeling it was something to be avoided, not like taking an aspirin. I’d repeat Adam P’s question: is this really about ethics, or aesthetics, or, I’d add, etiquette? Perhaps the girl feels uncomfortable with the idea but chooses what she feels is neutral language to avoid conflict or offense. Adam calls it “sanitization” – is that different from etiquette?

    2) It seems we all feel there’s something a bit off about this attitude towards a human fetus. I wonder, too, if there’s any connection between the cultural attitudes toward a fetus and a actually child, postwomb. I’m going out on a limb here just to suggest there might be some commonalities. Does anyone see any similar attitudes in child-rearing, like, for example, having a kid to hand over to another family member or ideas about child education?

    3) In Urumqi (Xinjiang), there are alot of buses. We have both big public ones, and then small minibuses operated by what I believe are private companies, but I was never sure. On the private buses, seat covers are always used as advertising space. I’m soon to post the pic to my photo gallery, but basically it lists a whole bunch of cosmetic procedures, including nose jobs, boob jobs and then two others: vaginal widening and hymen repair. This is a public bus that little kids take all the time, and it’s an extremely common ad. While this lies a foot in front of my face on a bus, there’s no advertising for condoms or sex ed at any of the schools or universities I’ve taught at that I’ve seen. This again becomes a question of aesthetics (some would be disgusted at having the words “vaginal widening” thrust in their face everyday on the way to work), but I think etiquette comes into the latter; to have sex ed may be perceived as to risk publicly discussing personal matters in class.

  25. Dave, I agree with all three of your points except: (A) Handing a baby to hand over to another family member is a bit irrelevant. It has less to do with attitude towards the baby but more to do with that towards the other family member. (Internal adoption, what’s wrong with it?) The Chinese view a family circle bigger and more deeply obligated to each other than do westerners. Giving a baby is a kind of a helping act, which has roots in Chinese culture dating back thousands of years. Having said this, many current-generation Chinese parents would absolutely refuse to give or accept such a gift. Also, who handles child education better is another matter of opinion. (B) Sex ed and condom ads in public might be perceived as risk encouraging premarital sex. Of course, that seems to be changing, too, sadly.

  26. Gin, I don’t disagree with you at all about the child giving being different. I was searching for something applicable – I couldn’t think of a good one so I threw that out there. Maybe someone else sees it differently. When I mentioned child education for point #2, I didn’t mean necessarily sex ed.

    Oh, and an embarassing editorial error: the bus ad said “vaginal tightening”, not “widening”. I guess it’s for after giving birth or something – I’m not exactly sure what the purpose is, but the best guess I’d hazard is that this is being done for the husbands benefit, not for health purposes.

    Considering the “hymen repair” part would be to maintain the illusion of virginity, I’d point out this could be seen as encouraging premarital sex (“your fiancee will never know!”) as well as again being for the benefit of the husband. But I guess that malecentric thing is a little off the abortion discussion.

  27. The fact that there is this massive difference between “everybody seems to regard it as a necessary evil” vs. “making the baby go away” is due entirely to the popular conception in US culture that people (including possibly fetuses) have immortal souls that are harmed by being murdered / commiting murder of innocent fetuses. As an American I’m not sure what the Chinese spin on that particular subject is, but it seems to be pretty different. The Chinese definitely have a different conception of whose / what’s life is valuable and why.
    As for the ad itself, I’m much more offended by advertisements that trivialize important emotional situations for the purpose of selling cheap inoffensive crap. Father and Son get together for a heart to heart chat… and eat McDonalds. Narrator describes how important courage and self actualization are… for the process of buying a car. Et cetera. I think these are much worse as they tend to make people, especially young people, cynical, emotionally guarded, and thus cut off from a lot of what makes life worthwhile. In my opinion, these results are far worse for humanity than telling people about where to get some retroactive birth control.

  28. That was very interesting Pete.

  29. Pete, good observation about the existence of a different view on the immortal soul business. The Chinese, more accurately, Budhism based peoples don’t have the one-God system and to them lives are not created but rather reincarnated over and over again. Life continues after one body’s death in the containment of another body. In other words the soul leaves one body and enters another, and note the soul may not necessarily suffer in this process. For example, in the old times before a hero or bandit was beheaded he’d shout “Another brave man in 20 years!” Therefore, death is not an offense to the holy being or injury to the condemned but a remanufacture, hopefully with a “remake.” So the ones with mortal sins can potentially be reborn (literally) into someone more noble, or else, if he/she never recognizes the sins, into an animal of extremely low statue, like a pig. An unfortunate, unwanted fetus can thus be let go and re-enter a better, loving family. This also serves as the basis/excuse for adoption (or abandonment) after birth, where the starving or unfit or dishonored parent intends or prays that the little one gets a different family which it more deserves. Did this also serve as basis for murder of a baby after birth? Is this used to justify casual views on death penalty and euthanasia? You bet. There also seems to be a subtly less hostile view on suicides.

    Disclaimer: me ain’t no expert, in religion or death.

  30. The Subtle Difference in Views on Suicides

    Christian: He did it despite of God. God won’t bless him. He was despicable.

    Budhist: He was driven to it by so-and-so. May Budha bless him. That so-and-so is despicable.

    Muslim: He did it to kill the SOBs. Allah is honored by him. Those Isrealis in the mall were despicable.

  31. There was something touched on lightly above which I want to come back to.
    The saddest most tragic thing i think would be the young married couple who don’t yet have permission to have a child but fall pregnant. The choice between, a child or house, job, career, health insurance, benefits etc would be one of the worst…

    This issue made me recall something i read a few years ago, but can’t recall where.
    It was about a Beijing hospital in the 1980s in which the highest paid person was the person who cleaned up the “waste” after abortions. This persons job was to put the aborted fetusus in the …i’m gonna say dumpster but can’t remember the details. The reason why they were paid so much was because some of these fetuses were more than 8 months and sometimes survived the procedure. As I recall this persons responsibility was to make the “waste” stop moving so it could be put in the dumpster…the implement used was a spade.

    I don’t think there is a reasonable person who reads this that wouldn’t agree that an eight month fetus is a human being.

    I think this type of situation and the fact that the govt FORCES abortions is one of the saddest indictments on comtemporary chinese society.

  32. Actually “Allah” is Arabic for God. If someone said that German people prayed to “Gott” while American people pray to God, we would all laugh out loud. Just as we would laugh out loud if a Sicilian in New York was called anti-Italian for criticizing Berlusconi.

  33. I was not talking at all about the difference in whom thay worship or by what they name their God.

  34. Gin, I’m just saying that God is God. In Arabic (that is, in the Bible, in newspapers, in the Koran, in books, in conversations) God is always called “Allah,” no matter whether the Christian faith or the Muslim faith or some other monotheistic faith is being referred to. As you know, a significant number of Arabs are Christian. So referring in English to God as “Allah” indicates a lack of understanding on the writer’s part. What are you going to do? Say that Arab Christians pray to God while Arab Muslims pray to Allah? That’s clearly absurd.

    You know that feeling you get in China when some stranger mockingly says “Hello” to you. You wish he would say “Ni hao.” Any native Arabic-speakers seeing God referred to as “Allah” in English will have the same kind of feeling, don’t you think? It’s like, whatever. Not much you can say. It’s probably best to ignore it. If you try to correct the problem, you’ll probably just wind up spending a lot of energy provoking a defensive reaction in some stranger.

  35. Note that my third scenario was an Arabic speaker speaking? The spirit of the comparison is thus lost.

    If you try to correct the problem, you’ll probably just wind up spending a lot of energy provoking a defensive reaction in some stranger.

  36. Notice that my third scenario was an Arabic speaker speaking? The spirit of the comparison is thus lost.

    If you try to correct the problem, you’ll probably just wind up spending a lot of energy provoking a defensive reaction in some stranger.

  37. I apologize about the defensive reaction comment. It’s better when these conversations are friendly and civil so we can come to an understanding. I crossed the line–The defensive reaction comment was really uncalled for.

    Let me clarify your position. We should say that yesterday at church in Shanghai, the Chinese were praying to ÉϵÛ, while the foreigners were praying to God? Were all foreigners praying to God, or should we split it up by nationality, that is, the Danes were praying to Gud because they speak Danish, the Germans were praying to Gott because they speak German and so on. What about Chinese Muslims? Do they pray to Allah or to ÉϵÛ? When Muslims talk about Jesus (who is also a prophet in Islam), do we say they are talking about Jesus or about Isa al Masih (Arabic for Jesus)? Are/were they the same person?

  38. By the way, Isa al Masih means Jesus the Messiah, the name by which Muslims all over the world know him.

  39. I see, I see (Ô­À´Èç´Ë). I shouldn¡¯t have brought up that distractive name, though.

  40. Obviously, this commercial is very strange and has brought up a lot of emotions among the people. Abortion is just not a big thing in China, in fact, many cases don’t even get to the stage of surgery as there are pills like RU-486 that can be taken at hospitals. The commercial goes too far, especially in its showing the procedure, but it just shows the extent capitalism has taken hold in China. I also agree that, if this was a larger city, there is no way this would be on tv, but because of the setting, its seen differently. Unfortunately, because of a lack of understanding of China and because of strong emotions about abortion, it is hard to talk about this in a mature and real manner (a la those talking about forced abortions).

  41. Blogging PRC’s TV land.

    John has an interesting post on an advert for abortions that involved a “procedure scene.” Go there for the description. Some interesting comments too….

  42. Asia by Blog

    Asia by Blog is a twice weekly feature, posted on Monday and Thursday, providing links to Asian blogs and their views on the news in this fascinating region. Please send me an email if you would like to be notified of new editions. Previous editions ca…

  43. Simon’s E. Asia Briefing: 2004-10-27

    The following is a digest of highlights from the past month’s Asia by Blog series over at simonworld.mu.nu. The round-up has four key areas of focus: China, Taiwan & Hong Kong (Politics, Economy & lifestyle, History sport & culture, Information), Korea…

  44. A couple of things to clear up: Condoms in China are not expensive. I buy ones for around 13 yuan for a box, but there are plenty of less expensive ones than that. What about in the U.S.? What is the going rate? Second, you CAN get condoms for free from the government. I for one choose not to, however.

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