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China Defends AIDS Policy, Says It Is Determined to Address Epidemic

September 4, 2003

China on Thursday slammed New York-based Human Rights Watch for "falsely" blaming government policy for a massive AIDS outbreak and said it is determined to care for those infected. Released Wednesday, the 94-page report "Locked Doors: The Human Rights of People Living with HIV/AIDS in China," charged the government with covering up the epidemic, downplaying the number of people infected, and implementing discriminatory policies against patients. Many people, in some cases entire villages, contracted HIV since the mid-1980s because of unsanitary state-run blood collection operations. "The number of persons with HIV is much higher than the 1 million cases that Beijing officially acknowledges," said the report. "If some international organizations, based on some inaccurate information make irresponsible accusations against China, I think this will not go with the facts," said China's foreign ministry spokesperson Kong Quan. Brad Adams, executive director of HRW's Asia division, said, "Beijing should authorize a full and impartial investigation into the involvement of local authorities in the blood scandal, and hold those responsible accountable."

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Excerpted from:
Agence France Presse

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