Sunday, February 18, 2007

Shanghai's up-market hotels reject free condoms

Most luxury hotels in the Pudong district of Shanghai, China's business hub, are refusing to provide condoms to their guests or install condom vending machines, says a local health official.

"We have considerable obstacles distributing the free condoms in Shanghai, especially from the five-star hotels," said the official surnamed Ye, of the Pudong branch of the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission.

Pudong, the city's booming financial district, is home to 2,300 hotels and recreation centers.

However, 40 percent of hotels and recreation centers in the district turned down the request of installing free condom boxes this year, said Ye.

"More than 80 percent of our clients are foreigners, who often bring their own condoms or buy them with the help of our housekeepers," said the infirmary chief of the five-star St. Regis Shanghai. "Providing free boxes of condoms in each room is a total waste and nonsense."

Free condoms or vending machines might make guests uncomfortable and damage the company's reputation, said the owner of an up-market beauty parlor in Shanghai on condition of anonymity.

However, the government is keen to continue the promotion of condoms.

"We will provide more variety and better condoms, and strengthen the publicity of enterprises, which have provided free condoms," said Ye.

The Regulation on AIDS Prevention and Control, issued by the State Council in January, states that all public places designated by provincial or municipal governments must provide condoms or condom vending machines. Enditem