China: AIDS Cover-Up as Chinese Premier Visits Village
December 6, 2007
In a World AIDS Day commemoration on Friday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Henan province, where thousands of villagers were infected with HIV through unsanitary blood-buying schemes. AIDS activists, however, charge the event was a sham. They say many AIDS patients were placed under house arrest by the 1,600 police officers who entered Wenlou village before Wen arrived.
"I do not understand why Premier Wen comes to visit us but real villagers are not allowed to meet him," said Ma Shenyi. The AIDS patient said two men entered his home and refused to allow him to leave, even though one of his children needed medical treatment. "The people who will meet Wen have been paid by the local government to say nice things," he said.
"Wen could not really see any of the bad things here," commented Liu Baode, who said he was one of more than 10 men who were held under house arrest in the morning, then followed in the afternoon. "We got nothing from this visit." Liu accuses local officials of stealing funds intended to help AIDS patients.
"Wen's intentions are good, but he could not see the real situation at all," said Hu Jia, an activist who has been under house arrest in Beijing for much of the past year. "Today, he just watched a show, though he may not have been aware of that." Life in Wenlou is getting worse, Hu said, because the efficacy of state-provided medicine is declining, and the monthly benefit payment to patients -- 30 yuan (US $4) -- is barely one-tenth the minimal cost of living.
The Guardian (London)
12.01.2007; Jonathan Watts
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.