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AIDS Activists In China Protest For Better Care For Those Affected By 1990s Blood-Selling Schemes

The Economist reports on a demonstration by about 300 people living with HIV and activists outside the headquarters of China’s Henan provincial government in Zhengzhou on August 27. “Many of the … participants were infected in government-backed blood-selling schemes in the 1990s,” the magazine writes, adding, “Tens of thousands contracted HIV this way. The government has never admitted responsibility.” According to the Economist, “As the Communist Party prepares for an imminent leadership change it is more than usually anxious to keep the AIDS scandal quiet.”

“The man who is preparing to take over as China’s prime minister, Li Keqiang, has particular reason to prefer that Henan’s AIDS crisis is dealt with quietly,” the magazine continues, noting, “Li was the province’s governor and then party chief between 1998 and 2004.” It continues, “In recent years the central government has become more open in admitting the extent of the problem and has provided a little more aid to those affected,” but “activists say that local officials often ignore central-government orders to improve care for victims.” The magazine writes, “Last month’s protest was the latest in a series of demonstrations aimed at persuading the government in Henan to carry out the [central government’s] wishes,” adding, “In recent months Henan’s AIDS activists have been stepping up their efforts to put pressure on the government to take the blame and improve care for sufferers and their families” (9/8).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.