AIDS-Afflicted Villagers Say Chinese Police Attacked Them
July 8, 2003
Hundreds of truncheon-wielding policemen raided an AIDS-affected village during the night in central China two weeks ago, rampaging through homes, beating residents and arresting 13 people, said the residents of Xiongqiao in Henan Province. The attack, which left more than a dozen injured, was apparently in retaliation for the villagers' previous protests calling for better medical care, residents said in telephone interviews.Adapted from:
Like many villages in Henan, Xiongqiao is experiencing an AIDS epidemic caused by government-induced unsanitary blood trading in the 1990s. Despite government promises, few of the villagers have been given antiviral drugs or specialized care. About one-third of Xiongqiao's 600 residents are HIV-positive, residents said. All feared reprisals if they gave their names.
The night of the raid, residents said, officers roamed the village in groups, swinging at villagers' heads and breaking television sets, dishes and lights. "They weren't like officials," one man said. "They behaved like bandits, smashing and looting." He added that at least three villagers were still hospitalized.
Villagers said they believed the raid was retaliatory. On June 17, as many as 100 villagers went to the nearby Wulong Township government building to demand tax breaks and better treatment, including medicine coupons and the building of a health center, for which the central government had disbursed $6,000 a year ago. When they were refused, several dozen protesters wrecked cars and assailed officials, including a deputy township chief, said a villager who attended the protest.
Last month, five Xiongqiao residents went to Henan's capital, Zhengzhou, to petition officials for the clinic and medicine. They were arrested, and four are still in detention. One was released because his AIDS symptoms were so severe, villagers said.
Philadelphia-based AIDS Policy Project on Monday called for the release of those arrested and urged foreign companies to stop investing in Henan because of the province's poor treatment of HIV patients.
New York Times
07.08.03; Chris Buckley
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.