Chinese AIDS Activist Previously Blocked From Traveling Departs for the U.S.
February 26, 2007
Today in Beijing, AIDS activist Dr. Gao Yaojie was permitted to board a flight to the United States, where she will receive an award from Vital Voices Global Partnership. The retired gynecologist, now age 80, helped break the news that thousands of Chinese became HIV-infected in the 1990s due to unsanitary blood-buying schemes run by the government. Over the years, Gao has been repeatedly prohibited from traveling abroad; this month, she was kept under virtual house arrest for 20 days to prevent her from coming to the United States. The Chinese government informed her on Feb. 16 she was free to make the trip. Gao credited international pressure with helping win consent to travel. Still, she said before the flight she fears reprisal if she says too much while abroad: "I feel confused and I am in a dilemma. If I don't tell the truth, I lie to the people in the whole world. If I tell the truth, I am worried that I will be detained."
02.26.07; Alexa Olesen
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