July 15, 2003
London-based Amnesty International on Saturday expressed concerns over the indiscriminate beatings and arrests of HIV-positive villagers in central China and urged a full and public report on how the people contracted the disease during blood donation drives. The rights group was referring to an incident on June 22, when up to 600 policemen stormed into Xiongqiao village in Wulong township, Henan province, and arrested AIDS activists who had protested the government's treatment of thousands of HIV patients in the region. In a statement, AI urged "the Chinese authorities to fully investigate the extent of HIV/AIDS transmission in Henan and other provinces due to the operation of blood-collection centers in the 1990s and to publish the findings of the investigation." Authorities should identify all those detained in connection with the police raids and provide immediate guarantees for their safety, the group said. Charges against the detainees should also be clarified, while those charged should be given access to lawyers and full medical treatment while in detention, AI said.