Chinese AIDS Activist Released
October 18, 2002
Dr. Wan Yan Hai, the AIDS activist detained by Chinese security on August 24, (see AIDS Treatment News #383, September 6, 2002) was unexpectedly released in Beijing on September 20. His release came after United Nations and the U.S. State Department officials negotiated behind the scenes, and ACT UP led an international activist mobilization to free him. The groups Human Rights in China, The Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and Amnesty International also worked for Dr. Wan's release.
On September 13, Human Rights Watch and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network gave Dr. Wan its first Award for HIV and Action on Human Rights, which was accepted by his wife, Su Zhaosheng. Other factors may also have played a role: major news outlets such as The New York Times covered the case early and extensively, and scholars and diplomats worldwide sent letters to Chinese government officials.
Wan was detained for posting information about China's AIDS epidemic on his organization's Web site (www.aizhi.org), one of the best independent sources of AIDS information available in China. The United Nations estimates that China may have 10 million HIV-positive citizens by 2010 if aggressive measures are not taken.
This article was provided by AIDS Treatment News. It is a part of the publication AIDS Treatment News.