UNIVERSITY students are a major proportion of the more than 6.5 million young Chinese women who have abortions each year, according to a new report, sparking concerns over students becoming more open to premarital sex.
According to the report by China's National Population and Family Planning Commission, a total of 13 million women have abortions each year, the largest number in the world.
More than half of the women are under 25 years old, while university students comprise the majority of that group, the weekly newspaper Life Time quoted the report as saying.
Two recent surveys showed 48 percent of university students in southern Guangdong Province said they approve of premarital sex, while about 40 percent said they don't care whether their partners are virgins, according to the newspaper.
The report and surveys have experts concerned that university students are becoming more and more open-minded on premarital sex, likely as a result of a lack of sex education.
In central Wuhan City, villagers have built apartments around a university as part of a booming business of renting rooms to student couples, the newspaper said.
Almost every evening, young couples can be seen spending nights together at the "hotels" after school. A female junior surnamed Li told the newspaper that she moved into an apartment with her boyfriend so they could share rent and look after each other.
Li said she dared not tell her parents, but it was very common among her classmates as "over one-fourth" of the students in her class have moved out to live together with their partners.
In university towns in Beijing, there are many small hotels or "daily rent apartments" that serve mainly student couples. Some students told the newspaper that they had to book the hotels in advance as they usually don't have any spare rooms during the weekend.
"We have the right to choose premarital sex just like we can get married in university," the newspaper quoted a student as saying.
Another report by the country's population authority says over 70 percent of Chinese people have premarital sex, while the rate was only 16 percent in the 1980s, the newspaper said.
A lack of sex education and society's increasing acceptance of divorce, cohabitation and one-night stands are all influencing university students, experts told the newspaper.
But the trend poses dangers for young people such as the increasing number of students catching venereal diseases due to unprotected sex and a drop in respect for marriage and social responsibility, the experts warned.
A survey held in Guangdong in 2010 showed that only about 34 percent of university students said they used condoms during sex. In addition, nearly 17 percent of the students interviewed in the survey said they had caught venereal diseases.