America's still exporting something. The fact that it's not even a quality product, unable to perform its ostensible function, makes it all the more surprising that the Chinese are buying it from us:
In Yunnan schools this year, teachers are being trained with a sex education curriculum created by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family. The agreement with the Yunnan ministry of education is a milestone for Focus on the Family, which has struggled for four years to make inroads on abstinence in China.
It is also the result of a narrow confluence of interests: Evangelical Christian groups want an entree into China. And Chinese authorities, despite the country's official atheism, want help with controlling population growth and managing the society's rapidly shifting values.
The article mentions that Focus on the Family has also made inroads into Egypt, showing that governments with poor records on human rights are particularly receptive to abstinence-only education.
The article continues:
Before the Yunnan deal, the program was mostly taught at occasional seminars by associated nonprofit groups in four major cities. The piecemeal approach reached only 9,000 students, according to program coordinators.
The Yunnan agreement promises wider exposure. In the past week alone, 512 teachers from about half the school districts in the province were trained to teach the curriculum in seminars sponsored by the government.[...]
The exchange led to two inaugural seminars this week in which Yunnan teachers learned how to steer teens away from sex. The curriculum warns of consequences including STDs, teenage pregnancy and abortion. It also offers women myriad ways to turn boys down, in Chinese:
"Do you want to bet my future on that condom?"
"I'm not like everyone else."
"If you want to celebrate our love, bring me roses at 7 p.m. and let's go to dinner."
While population control is mentioned several times in the article as the reasoning behind accepting abstinence-only (I thought the Religious Right recoiled in horror at the thought of population control by the government?), that's obviously not the motivation. Abstinence-only doesn't work to reduce premarital sex, as study after study has shown. Instead, they teach kids not to use condoms, a lesson that they'll take with them whether they have sex or not. Instead, these programs are being implemented as a way to control people's behavior:
In 2006, Yunnan officials, who had heard some of the long-running 90-second radio commentaries by Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, inquired about airing them on their own station. That led provincial leaders to stop by Colorado during a 2007 tour of the United States.
Provincial leaders told Dobson during their visit that they admired his strong stances on everything - marriage, parenting, gender issues, the sanctity of life. The only thing they disagreed with was evangelism, according to Go, the Focus on the Family official, who served as translator.
It's about imposing values on people, not anything like "population control" or "preventing STD's" or "making sure children are born in wedlock." In fact, in the US these programs have been used to get rightwing politics, sexism, and homophobia into schools. They get teachers to stop talking about dry academic subjects and talk about the way humans interact with one another (the essence of politics), force them to do it through a right-wing perspective (sex is bad), and the rest happens on its own - teachers and administrators and textbook writers are emboldened to impose their beliefs on young people.
The article says that FotF has had to de-religion its materials to get into China, which is officially atheist, but they're supposed to be doing the same thing in classrooms in the US, which is officially secular, but they've been sneaking Bible verses and religious indoctrination into the classroom anyway. China will probably do a better job keeping the evangelism out (local officials and teachers probably feel less need to advance Christianity and the government is more stringent about materials that make it into the classroom), but give FotF time. They'll be sending the evangelism over too, eventually.