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That Time of The Month? Chinese State Media Explain How to Use Sanitary Towels

Shortly after a large-scale fake sanitary pad scandal has been exposed in China, state-run newspaper People’s Daily explains women how to correctly use menstrual pads and how to differentiate real from fake ones.

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Shortly after a large-scale fake sanitary pad scandal has been exposed in China, state-run newspaper People’s Daily teaches women how to correctly use menstrual pads and how to differentiate real from fake ones. Many netizens do not appreciate the ‘non-counterfeit sanitary towel’ crash course.

A few days after a ‘fake sanitary pad’ scandal sparked health concerns in China, People’s Daily – the most influential state-run newspaper in China – explains to women on Weibo how to correctly use sanitary pads, and how to tell if they are real or fake.

“Girls, are you really using sanitary pads correctly?”

“Girls, after all these years, are you really using sanitary pads correctly?”, the People’s Daily posted on Sina Weibo on October 29, as spotted by What’s on Weibo.

Nanchang police recently discovered counterfeit sanitary pads that were sold under Chinese well-known brand names such as ‘ABC’ or ‘Sophie (苏菲). The fake sanitary pads were produced in a factory without the proper sterilization, which could potentially cause health problems for women using them.

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“How can you tell if a sanitary pad is counterfeit?”, People’s Daily posted: “And what are the common misconceptions about the use of sanitary pads? How can women choose the right type of sanitary towel?”

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People’s Daily posted several infographics explaining how to differentiate a fake pad from a real one, and how to properly use sanitary pads.

“How to differentiate real from fake menstrual pads?”

Under the header of “how to differentiate real from fake menstrual pads?” (“如何鉴别真假卫生巾”), the Chinese newspaper warns women to pay attention to the look, smell, shape, and quality of sanitary pads.

Non-counterfeit sanitary towels are properly packed and have no visible damages. There should be no chemical smell to the pads, and their thickness should be even. They should also be able to quickly absorb 10mm or more of water – which is a quick test to see if a sanitary pad is real, according to the Weibo post.

Besides offering a crash course in differentiating fake from real menstrual pads, People’s Daily advises women to change their sanitary pads every 2-3 hours – no matter whether their menstruation is heavy or light – to avoid reproduction of bacteria.

The infographic also warns women not to use old sanitary towels, even if they have never been opened, because keeping them for too long after the production date might allegedly affect its quality and hygienic standard.

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The state media outlet advises women to frequently change sanitary napkins that have high absorption capacity and not to use sanitary pads if it is not necessary to do so.

Lastly, People’s Daily says that women should be cautious about buying menstrual pads that are sold at a discount price and to buy reputable brands instead of new or unknown ones.

“It should not be up to women to distinguish real sanitary pads from counterfeit ones.”

The People’s Daily Weibo post soon triggered thousands of reactions from netizens. Many are angry that the newspaper advises women on how to look out for fake menstrual pads.

“I feel that it should not be up to women to distinguish real sanitary pads from counterfeit ones; it is up to the concerning departments to control and supervise [the sale of menstrual pads],” one netizen comments: “The people involved in illegal sales should be heavily punished!”

“This is too funny!”, another Weibo user says: “Now all women have to master how to differentiate between fake and real sanitary napkins.”

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“We are already in pain, and now we also have to think about if what we buy is real or not,” another female netizen complains.

“You don’t realize how poor many people are, and how expensive menstrual pads are. And now they can not only be fake, but you also tell us to change them every 2-3 hours, well that’s at least 7 pads a day (..) – the costs are just too high.”

“When you live in China, you have to able to tell if meat is fake, if alcohol is fake, if hotpot ingredients are fake, if gasoline is fake (..), and now even women ‘whose aunt is visiting’ are encountering fake products!”

“Now my menstruation just scares me even more.”

By now, the People’s Daily post has been shared thousands of times on Chinese social media, with the hashtag “Are you really using sanitary towels correctly? (#你真的用对卫生巾了吗#) being one of the top trending topics on Weibo’s ‘hot search’ list.

The issue has also been covered by other media outlets, from newspapers to (local) TV channels. Although People’s Daily is serious in its intention to teach women how to correctly use non-counterfeit menstrual pads, most netizens are either angered or humored by this ‘crash course.’

“As women, we already have to endure so much and now this too,” one person writes.

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For other Weibo users, all this talk about ‘that time of the month’ just is another reason to dread it. “Now my menstruation just scares me even more,” one netizen writes.

– By Manya Koetse
Follow on Twitter or Like on Facebook

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, Sino-Japanese relations and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Health

Exam Room For HIV-positive Students Sparks Social Media Storm in China

For the first time ever in China, HIV-positive students will take the national college exams in a separate examination room at a special school in Linfen, Shanxi. News of the segregated exam site has triggered intense debate among Weibo netizens over the past few days.

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For the first time ever in China, HIV-positive students will take the national college exams in a separate examination room at a special school in Linfen, Shanxi. News of the segregated exam site has triggered intense debate among Weibo netizens over the past few days.

Linfen Red-Ribbon School, the only special school for HIV-infected children in China, sparked a social media storm in early June when Shanxi Daily reported that its students would take their national exams in a special exam room, instead of taking it at the standard local exam site together with other students.

The Red Ribbon School was established in December of 2011, and has since been included in the national education system. The Institute offers free food, dorms, medical services, and psychological treatment for its 33 students, who come from all over China.

China’s national college exam, better known as the gaokao (高考), is the National Higher Entrance Examination. For most students, it is the most important exam of their life.

The Red Ribbon School received official authorization to let 16 of its students take the national exam within the school premises. The students have lived and studied at the Institute since 2004. All prerequisites for the official exam, including CCTV and surveillance equipment, have now been installed in two designated gaokao rooms. There are separate rooms for candidates in liberal arts and science.

The idea for the special exam site was originally suggested by Guo Xiaoping, the school’s headmaster. People with HIV often still face severe stigma and discrimination in China. “It is unrealistic to prevent all discrimination in modern-day society,” Guo said in an interview with the Shanxi Daily: “Some people might object to taking tests together with our students. It was my proposal to set up a separate place for them, and it was then approved by the education and exam council. The establishment of this examination site is of major significance.”

But not all netizens agreed on the helpfulness of separate exam rooms, and it triggered wider debates on the existence of the school itself. One Chinese web user objected: “’Red-Ribbon school’? Giving the school this name is like screaming from the rooftops ‘these kids are sick!’ This institution is unprecedentedly wicked rather than meaningful.”

Another person ridiculed the exam arrangements, pointing out that it reinforced discrimination instead of eliminating it.

There are also many people who approve of the school; but also because they are worried about their own ‘safety.’ On the Weibo page of Chinanews, the comment that received the most ‘likes’ explained a concerned parent’s perspective: “Would you feel safe knowing your kid is playing with those HIV-positive children? They are so little and don’t know how to protect themselves. Something might happen that leads to contact with blood.”

“I bet that half of the comments here are just out of political correctness. To be honest, I don’t want to live with HIV-students in the same college because I’m afraid that I might have some dangerous physical contact with them without even knowing it.”

There are also Weibo commenters who support headmaster Guo Xiaoping. “He’s a great man who quit his job as the president of the Linfen People’s Hospital to devote himself to building this school to help HIV-infected kids receive a proper education. It is really unfair to talk badly about such a kind old man and these poor children.”

In 2014, over half a million (501,000) of China’s population were reportedly living with HIV. Although the number of HIV cases is relatively low in China, this has also intensified existing stigmas and fear (see this 2009 study on stigma and discrimination among people with HIV in low HIV-prevalence contexts).

HIV-infected children in China are often forced to drop out of school because of poverty, discrimination, and poor health. In 2014, the 8-year-old HIV-infected Kunkun made headlines when he was banished from his village for the ‘safety’ of his neighbors. He later found a new home at the Red Ribbon school.

Sixth Tone recently reported that many workers with Chinese Hepatitis B seek body doubles to pass health checks in the workplace to avoid discrimination. Similar practices also occur with HIV carriers. Taboos surrounding the disease are so strong that some Chinese doctors still fear treating HIV/Aids patients, despite anti-discrimination rules.

Looking at the many comments on Chinese social media about the facts and falsehoods about HIV/Aids, it is clear that there is still a long road ahead for HIV awareness in China – especially because sexual education is still a controversial topic.

Through an open letter online, one of the students of the Red Ribbon School also gave their view and final say on the matter. They wrote: “I just want to go to college, achieve my dreams and pay back those who love me. The nearer the gaokao is, the heavier my heart feels. So many questions have been troubling me: whether I will be accepted to a university, if the teachers will accept me as a normal student, and whether my classmates will study and live with me.”

The students of the Red Ribbon Schools will be taking their exams on June 7 and 8. One 19-year-old Weibo netizen wishes the students the best: “As a Linfen resident, this moves me to tears, and I am proud of Linfen. All these keyboard warriors need to shut up and stop discriminating. You can’t deprive these students of their rights. I wish them all the good luck for their exams!”

– By Yue Xin
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Additional editing by Manya Koetse
©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Health

Another Hospital Scandal: Nanchang Doctor Asks Woman for More Money during Abortion

A news story about a doctor forcing her patient into paying more money during an abortion procedure has sparked anger on Chinese social media about illegal practices at Chinese hospitals.

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A news story about a doctor forcing her patient into paying more money during an abortion procedure has sparked anger on Chinese social media about illegal practices at Chinese hospitals.

A second-year female student named Xiao Chen (小陈) from Nanchang became a much-discussed topic on Weibo on April 11 when she told journalists about her traumatic experience while she was undergoing an abortion at a Nanchang hospital (南昌建设医院).

During the surgery, the doctor asked her to pay more money to undergo another procedure. When she declined, the doctor moved the medical instrument inside her, causing excruciating pain that did not stop until the girl agreed to pay for the second procedure.

“I had only come in for the abortion and did not understand why I would have to undergo another procedure,” the young woman told Pear News. Xiao Chen paid 2800 RMB (±405US$) for the abortion.

The doctor allegedly told the girl she had cervical erosion and that she needed a second procedure for that, costing an additional 4000 RMB (±580US$). The college student told the media that she could not afford that amount of money and that she initially declined and told the doctor to stop the surgery altogether, but that the doctor hurt her until she agreed to go forwards.

When journalists went to interview the doctor, she denied the incident occurred and offered them a red envelope with money to keep the story out of the press. The envelope was declined by the journalists, who included the bribery incident in their report.

The doctor at the Nanchang hospital offered journalists a bribe to keep the story out of the news.

On Weibo, the report ignited a storm of criticism; but the discussion soon derailed with netizens discussing the fact that the girl had an abortion in the first place. “This is not about her having an abortion, it’s her life, this is about the hospital using these kind of violent measures to force people into agreeing for a procedure,” one person said.

“This doctor should be forced and never allowed to practice a medical profession again,” a typical comment read.

Hospital scandals frequently become trending topics on Chinese social media. In late 2016, the personal account of a young woman’s horrific plastic surgery experience, during which she was sexually molested by a doctor in Shanghai’s Ninth People’s Hospital, also went viral on Chinese social media.

On the website of Nanchang hospital its abortions are promoted as being “painless” (see featured image).

“This girl is really brave for coming out about what happened to her,” one person writes: “She needs to stand up for her rights.”

According to the People’s Daily, the hospital has promised to compensate the young woman for what has happened.

– By Manya Koetse

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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