AIDS awareness seminar: a threat to the people?

From the unlinkable SCMP, this story is an antidote for those believing the anecdotal evidence that China is making big strides in dealing with AIDS.

A Beijing seminar today to raise public awareness on the HIV/Aids crisis in Hebei province is likely to be called off under government pressure, sources say.

The seminar is part of efforts by a group of 11 Beijing-based lawyers to offer free legal help to HIV patients in the province’s Xingtai city, epicentre of a blood scandal in which tainted blood collected illegally has infected – as the government put it – 125 people.

The lawyers planned to host the seminar at a function room at the YMCA of Beijing in the afternoon.

“I arranged for the venue with the [YMCA] organisation on Tuesday. But on Friday they said they couldn’t host the event as `relevant authorities’ asked them not to. They didn’t say who the relevant authorities are, but it’s easily understood to be the government. We are still looking for another venue now,” a source said last night.

The lawyers have launched a campaign to help HIV patients in Xingtai with lawsuits seeking compensation from hospitals, where they contracted the disease through tainted blood transfusions. The seminar was also an attempt to encourage more lawyers to help with the work for free.

So the government brought AIDS to the people, and now they want to keep people from learning about it. Really. There have been a few shining examples of improvement over the past two years that I eagerly posted about, but on balance the situation is as bad as it was when I first wrote my report on AIDS in China.

The Discussion: One Comment

Do you remember a year or so ago, when you posted that letter fro the Hep/B guy who revealed a load of the myths and untruths spread by Beijing about th ilness (like it could be spread through eating from the same dish as a sufferer)?

Right now, I’m not certain why Beijing is doing this, which do you think is the most likely reason

A) It’s afraid of not being the only source of information.

B) It’s afraid that awarness will reveal its past mistakes

C) It wants to keep awarness down in order to continue promoting its own particular view of morality (eg, drug use and unsafe sex don’t happen in China)

Or is it something else?

January 8, 2006 @ 4:48 am | Comment

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