Another AIDS Activist Goes Missing in China
August 9, 2004
Leading Chinese AIDS activist Li Dan and a colleague were detained by government officials Sunday night as they prepared to visit Shuangmiao village to plan a protest with AIDS advocates and patients, according to Wan Yanhai, a Beijing-based activist. "They took him away without an arrest warrant or any other official document, so that is why we consider this a kidnapping," Wan said. Henan, the province where Li Dan disappeared, has been hit hard by AIDS because of past unsanitary blood-buying there.
The two were first detained in a local hotel, then Li Dan's colleague was released, and Li Dan was taken to an undisclosed location, Wan said. Zhecheng county police said they know nothing about Li Dan's activities in the area or his disappearance.
Li Dan, who runs the Beijing AIDS self-help group Orchid, had been planning to visit four other activists in detention; they were released Saturday after being held for almost a month by police in Shuangmiao village. Wang Guofeng, his wife Li Shuzhi and two other HIV-positive activists were arrested in early July in Shangqui city as they were about to embark on a trip to Beijing to petition the national health department. Li Shuzhi said Saturday that their detention was also linked to sending AIDS orphans to an orphanage run by Li Dan's charity. The government has expressed disapproval of charities that have tried to help those affected by the epidemic: Li Dan's orphanage was ordered closed in July.
The arrests, activists said, show that despite Chinese leaders' new openness about the AIDS epidemic, harsh tactics are still being used to silence AIDS protesters. "They've built special jails in the counties affected by AIDS to house AIDS patients," said Wan. "This is central government policy."
Agence France Presse
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.