Status of Chinese People

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    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
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    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘AIDS’ Category


Propaganda and cover-up: Chinese State Media Says AIDS-Like Disease is in the Head

Posted by Author on April 17, 2011

For the last week the Chinese media has been abuzz with talk of an unknown, highly contagious AIDS-like disease, termed “HIV-negative AIDS,” that has allegedly been spreading in China for several years and infecting thousands. Now official media have stepped in to put the matter to rest: there is no such disease, and people claiming to be sick from it need psychological help.

In a widely circulated statement, Chinese Health Ministry spokesperson Deng Haihua announced on April 4 that “HIV-negative AIDS” is just “AIDS-phobia.” On April 11 he elaborated, saying that “there is no so-called phrase ‘HIV-negative AIDS’, and there is no such ‘HIV-negative AIDS’ virus.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in AIDS, China, Health, Life, News, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Propaganda and cover-up: Chinese State Media Says AIDS-Like Disease is in the Head

China’s AIDS epidemic caused by rural blood-selling, two of the country’s top leaders should be held to account, says retired senior health official

Posted by Author on December 1, 2010

Radio Free Asia, Dec. 1, 2010 –

China’s AIDS epidemic has been largely fueled by rural blood-selling in poverty-stricken areas, and two of the country’s leaders should be held to account, according to a retired senior health official.

Chen Bingzhong, 78, a former head of the China Health Education Research Institute, published an open letter to President Hu Jintao online ahead of World AIDS Day calling for disciplinary action against propaganda czar Li Changchun and vice-premier Li Keqiang. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in AIDS, China, Health, Life, News, Social, World | Comments Off on China’s AIDS epidemic caused by rural blood-selling, two of the country’s top leaders should be held to account, says retired senior health official

China hospital refuses to treat beaten woman with HIV

Posted by Author on July 15, 2010

AFP, July 15, 2010 –

BEIJING — A Chinese hospital refused to treat a migrant worker seriously injured in a wage dispute after doctors found out the woman was HIV-positive, her co-worker said Friday.

Li Na, 37, was beaten up Monday when she and fellow workers at a construction site in the Inner Mongolia region asked their company for their unpaid wages, and was sent to hospital, Wu Jibiao told AFP.

“She was badly hit five to six times and she was spitting blood, but when doctors did some tests and found out she was HIV-positive, they refused to treat her,” he said.

“They didn’t give her a room either and our company said they would not pay us if she didn’t leave (hospital), so she eventually had to go. But she’s still spitting blood now, her blood pressure is sky high and she can’t walk.”

Wu said doctors told Li’s co-workers that she was HIV-positive — a sensitive issue in China where people with HIV/AIDS still encounter huge discrimination.

“Now she doesn’t want to live because her co-workers don’t want to talk to her, they all look down on her now,” he said.

The People’s Hospital of Dalate Qi, where Li was sent, and local police were not immediately available for comment. Li was also unavailable to speak to reporters.

According to Wu, Li contracted HIV more than 10 years ago when she gave blood in the central province of Henan, her home region.

Henan was the scene of a huge scandal in the 1990s when people were infected by HIV after repeatedly selling their blood to collection stations that pooled it into a tub and then injected it back into them after taking the plasma.

The blood-selling scandal, which was initially covered up by local officials, saw entire villages in Henan devastated by AIDS.

China says that at least 740,000 people are living with HIV, but campaigners say the actual figure could be far higher.


Posted in AIDS, Central China, China, Health, Henan, News, People, Social, Women, Worker, World | Comments Off on China hospital refuses to treat beaten woman with HIV

The truth of China and international figures’ response to HIV/AIDS

Posted by Author on July 11, 2010

July 11, 2010|By Joe Amon, The Los Angeles Times –

The man
who may be China’s most prominent defender of the rights of people living with HIV, Wan Yanhai, took refuge in the United States in April, after months of harassment by Chinese authorities. His organization, Aizhixing, has been repeatedly audited by government officials and is in imminent danger of being shut down. Other nongovernmental AIDS organizations have been similarly threatened, and people infected with HIV or at risk of infection in China continue to face discrimination and abuse.

So why then, in late June, did the chief of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — a $20-billion public/private fund that operates in 144 countries — thank the Chinese government for its efforts on AIDS prevention, treatment and care, and say nothing publicly about the rights of HIV-infected people?

The praise from Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund, was directed at the Chinese vice premier, Li Keqiang — the same person who, as governor of Henan province from 1998 to 2003, oversaw an intense government cover-up of an HIV epidemic, victimizing both patients and their advocates.

Kazatchkine is not the only international figure to uncritically praise the Chinese response to AIDS.

In 2005, Jim Yong Kim, then director of the World Health Organization’s HIV Department, visited China and declared: “After it was discovered that people in China got infected via blood transmission in hospitals and through intravenous drug use, the government went to extraordinary lengths to stop transmission.”

His statement rewrites history. The “extraordinary lengths” China pursued included harassing and putting under house arrest Dr. Gao Yaojie, the doctor who exposed the problem. Gao, 83, fled China in 2009. She has said since that she is afraid to return.

Another well-known AIDS activist, Hu Jia, is serving a 3 1/2-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state authority,” an offense used to punish those who criticize the government or the Communist Party of China. His arrest was part of a wider crackdown on Chinese citizens before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

The comments of Kazatchkine and the plight of Wan, Gao and Hu are emblematic of the HIV/AIDS response in China: On paper, the Chinese government has laws and policies that are protective of the rights of an estimated 700,000 people living with HIV in the country. In practice, these policies are frequently undermined by the actions of police and public security forces, who round up “undesirables” such as sex workers and drug users and intimidate and censor civil society organizations working to expand HIV outreach.

This tension was highlighted in report released by UNAIDS last year that found that two-thirds of HIV-infected people in China have not sought treatment because of fear, ignorance and discrimination. UNAIDS’ director, Michel Sidibe, said then that China needed to “break the conspiracy of silence” surrounding HIV/AIDS.

But clearly, it is not just the Chinese government that needs to break the conspiracy of silence; it is also the international donor community. It would be wise to listen to what inmates at any of the approximately 700 compulsory drug detention centers in China have to say.

Human Rights Watch’s research has found that the roughly 500,000 people at these centers are routinely beaten, forced to work for up to 18 hours a day without pay, have no access to drug dependency treatment and are denied even basic medical care. Under China’s 2008 anti-drug law, drug users, even first-time users, are locked up for three to six years, without trial, in “treatment” centers that have a relapse rate of as high as 90%. Our research found that some detention center guards provided drugs to “patients”; and one guard admitted using the mandatory HIV test results to determine which female drug users to have sex with…….(more details from The Los Angeles Times)

Posted in AIDS, Changchun, China, Health, Human Rights, Life, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on The truth of China and international figures’ response to HIV/AIDS

Top AIDS activist flees China with fear for US

Posted by Author on May 12, 2010

By Robert Saiget (AFP) –

BEIJING — China’s top AIDS activist, whose group helped uncover a major tainted blood-selling scandal in the 1990s, said Tuesday he had fled with his family to the United States because he feared for his safety.

Wan Yanhai, 46, said he, his wife and his daughter were staying with friends in the eastern US city of Philadelphia after leaving China in recent days.

“I have been living in fear, if I wasn’t afraid then I wouldn’t have left… I have no sense of personal safety,” Wan told AFP by telephone.

“There were a lot of pressures — from the commerce and industry departments, the police, the tax authorities, the propaganda department, the education ministry.”

Wan’s decision to leave highlights the increasing pressure felt by independent activists in China, who are under constant scrutiny by wary Communist officials.

In recent months, the government has jailed several top dissidents, earning Western criticism. It has clamped down on non-governmental organisations, human rights lawyers, online citizen journalists and petitioners, rights groups say.

In 1994, Wan — a former health ministry official — set up Aizhixing, which means “Love, Knowledge, Action”. The group has led an AIDS awareness campaign in China that has alternately won government praise and scorn……. (more details from AFP)

Posted in Activist, AIDS, China, Health, Human Rights, News, People, Politics, World | Comments Off on Top AIDS activist flees China with fear for US

10 Forbidden Stories of 2009 in China (6)- Old professor exposes AIDS disaster

Posted by Author on January 13, 2010

Epoch Times Staff, updated: Jan 7, 2010 – (cont’d)

Gao Yaojie is considered by many to be a Chinese Mother Teresa.(Epochtimes Website)


82-year-old professor flees China, exposes AIDS disaster

After more than two years of silence, 82-year-old Gao Yaojie spoke publicly in Hong Kong about the release of her new book, China’s AIDS Plague: 10,000 Letters. Through a review of individual cases, the book uncovers the making of a man-made disaster led by CCP officials.

She asserts that millions have been victimized because of a blanket of silence and misinformation imposed by the communist regime. Dr. Gao, formerly a professor at the Henan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and known as one of China’s foremost experts on AIDS, is now in the U.S. She held a press conference in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 1—World AIDS Day. (to be cont’d)

Original report from The Epochtimes

Posted in Activist, AIDS, China, Health, Life, News, People, Social, World | 2 Comments »

AIDS Activists Exposes Plight of Sufferers in China

Posted by Author on December 8, 2009

NTDTV, Dec. 8, 2009 –

“So what I want to say now, is to leave the truth to the world’s people.”

That was Dr. Gao Yoajie speaking at a press conference. She says she wants “to leave the truth to the world’s people.”

A retired Gynecologist, Dr. Gao has traveled around China to help AIDS sufferers since the 1990s. That was when HIV was spreading rapidly in Henan province where blood was being sold at unsanitary collection centers.

But for all her work, Dr. Gao suffered years of harassment and the Chinese regime put her under house arrest.

Last week, she released her latest book “Blood Disaster: 10,000 Letters” in Washington, D.C. It’s a compilation of thousands of letters she received from AIDS sufferers, orphans who lost their parents to AIDS, and AIDS petitioners.

Dr. Gao says the Chinese communist regime is suppressing AIDS activists.

[Gao Yaojie, AIDS Activist]:
“Tempting activists with money doesn’t work, also not with material wealth, housing or cars. When all that fails, the [regime] starts to suppress, they follow you, monitor you and put you under house arrest. If all that fails, like with the case of Hu Jia, they will throw you in jail.”

Dr. Gao refutes the Chinese regime’s claim that AIDS is mostly spread in China through sexual activities or drugs. She says her own investigations show 90% of transmissions are from blood transfusions.


Posted in Activist, AIDS, China, Health, Life, News, People, Politics, World | Comments Off on AIDS Activists Exposes Plight of Sufferers in China

China’s Famous AIDS Activist Arrives in U.S.– New book exposes the AIDS epidemic

Posted by Author on November 28, 2009

By Liang Zhen, Epoch Times Staff, Nov. 28, 2009-

After more than two years of silence, 82-year-old Gao Yaojie spoke publicly in Hong Kong at the release of her new book, China’s AIDS Plague: 10,000 Letters. Through a review of individual cases, the book uncovers the making of a man-made disaster led by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials. She asserts that millions have been victimized because of a blanket of silence and misinformation imposed by the communist regime.

Dr. Gao, formerly a professor at the Henan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and known as one of China’s foremost experts on AIDS, has now arrived in the U.S. She plans to hold a press conference in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 1—World AIDS Day.

Pastor Bob Fu of the U.S.-based ChinaAid Association assisted Dr. Gao in leaving China. The pastor said that Gao managed to come to the U.S. with legal status despite the Communist Party’s efforts to block her from leaving. Over the past three months, Gao has been in hiding, forced to keep moving from place to place to avoid almost certain abduction and persecution, Fu said. Because of the necessity of keeping her whereabouts unknown, not even Dr. Gao’s family knew that she had come to the U.S.

The New Book

Gao first paid attention to the spread of AIDS in China in 1996, and began devoting all of her efforts towards AIDS prevention and rescue. She traveled to villages throughout Henan Province, using her own pension money to treat more than 1,000 patients. She also printed hundreds of thousands of flyers to educate peasants about the causes of the epidemic.

Initially her actions received a lot of attention, and many patients began to contact her. Desperate victims wrote to her, describing their situations and looking for help. The letters arrived by the thousands. When letter number 10,001 arrived, she decided to publish them as a way of raising awareness.

The new book discusses problems in China’s medical system such as people selling fake drugs to exploit AIDS patients for money. She writes that Chinese Communist Party officials, for a share of the money, provide protection for these profiteers. Others, in collusion with their doctors, pretend to be AIDS patients to receive a government subsidy. Orphans become ill after contracting the disease from their parents, and AIDS patients are treated very unfairly.

First Book Suppressed

Gao ’s original book, 10,000 Letters, published in 2004, received the Best Chinese Book Award in 2005. Hundreds of influential people attended the awards ceremony in the Great Hall of the People hosted by Beijing News and the Nanfang Daily. Despite the accolades, however, and much to Gao’s surprise, few copies were sold.

She could not understand what happened but remembered several people at the ceremony telling her that “the content was poorly edited and the stories seemed overly simplified.” They suggested that she rewrite the book using the original letters. That evening, Gao met with her editor, asking him to recheck the book. The young man burst into tears but said nothing. After half an hour, he left quietly.

Through this incident, Gao felt the unspoken pressure keenly. She decided not to hand over the original letters, and did not reply to anyone else offering to publish her book. Five years later, when her contract with the publisher expired, she contracted with Open Magazine in Hong Kong to publish this revision of her previous book…….(More details from The Epochtimes)

Posted in Activist, AIDS, China, Health, intellectual, Life, News, People, World | Comments Off on China’s Famous AIDS Activist Arrives in U.S.– New book exposes the AIDS epidemic

Belgian TV news crew beaten by authorities in China

Posted by Author on November 30, 2008

By Jonathan Landreth, via Reuters, Sat Nov 29, 2008 –

BANGKOK, Thailand (Hollywood Reporter) – A Belgian TV journalist and his crew were assaulted while reporting on AIDS in Central China.

The incident underscores the ongoing difficulties in bringing a new media openness to the provinces under an official change in policy that the government adopted around the time of the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

After interviewing several representatives of AIDS groups on Thursday, Belgian journalist Tom Van de Weghe and his production team from Flemish public television VRT were beaten and robbed of cash and equipment by 12 men recruited by authorities in Henan province, a VRT spokesperson said.

The incident echoes one in the spring in which a crew from U.S. broadcast network CBS’ newsmagazine show “60 Minutes” was assaulted when trying to film a plant processing toxic waste near the South China boomtown of Shenzhen.

Starting a year before the Summer Olympics, Beijing promised free access to foreign media reporting in China and recently extended those rules.

Even as foreign reporters continue to be blocked from covering news that might challenge the authority of the leading Communist party, AIDS awareness in China may yet spread via the Web.

The VRT incident, publicized Friday by global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, follows close on the heels of an initiative by Yahoo! China and the United Nations Development Program to provide China’s 210 million search engine users with HIV prevention information even if they are not directly searching for it.

For instance, Yahoo China’s online ad space will ask viewers searching key words such as ‘sex,’ ‘porn’ and ‘gay,’ “Do you know about HIV and HIV Testing?”

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Posted in AIDS, Central China, China, Freedom of Speech, Health, Henan, Human Rights, Incident, Journalist, Law, Media, News, People, Politics, Speech, World | Comments Off on Belgian TV news crew beaten by authorities in China

AIDS in China Heading Out of Control: Chinese Expert

Posted by Author on November 29, 2008

Nanfang Daily, via The China Scope, by LLD, Nov. 25, 2008-

A medical expert in Guangzhou warned on Nov 24 that AIDS in China has entered a stage of being uncontrollable.

An 18-year-old college freshman was recently diagnosed with AIDS in a Guangzhou hospital. According to the doctor, the male student was infected through sexual intercourse.

In China, transmission of the deadly disease through sexual activities has dwarfed every other channel of contagion, according to Cai Weiping, an AIDS expert from Guangzhou No. 8 People’s Hospital, in a media interview.

While the liberal attitude toward sex among the younger generation is one of the major reasons for the disease being out of control, migrant workers and the elderly are also vulnerable populations. Although the government has started the AIDS education, the sex workers at the bottom of  society are usually not targeted. Cai said that due to their extremely low income, they cannot afford the cost of condoms.

The China Scope

Posted in AIDS, China, Guangdong, Guangzhou, Health, Life, News, People, SE China, Social, Student, World | Comments Off on AIDS in China Heading Out of Control: Chinese Expert

3.5 Years Jailing– A Punishment For Hu Jia’s Public Critics of China’s Human Rights Violations: Amnesty

Posted by Author on April 3, 2008

Amnesty International, 3 April 2008-Hu Jia

Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia has been convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

After months under house arrest, Hu Jia was detained on 27 December 2007. He was formally charged on 28 January 2008 and went on trial on 18 March at the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court.

(photo: Hu Jia/ from Amnesty International)

“This verdict is punishment for Hu Jia’s public critiques of human rights violations in China and a warning to any other activists in China who dare to raise human rights concerns publicly,” Amnesty International said.

“It also makes a mockery of promises made by Chinese officials that human rights would improve in the run-up to the Olympics.”

Prior to his formal detention, Hu Jia had publicly expressed concerns over human rights abuses by police in Beijing, including the arrest of activists without the necessary legal procedures. This included the case of land rights activist Yang Chunlin and human rights defender Lu Gengsong, both also detained on subversion charges.

While detained, Hu has been subjected to 47 lengthy and repeated interrogations. He was denied access to his lawyer, members of his family and medical treatment, including necessary daily medication for liver disease resulting from a Hepatitis B infection. His wife, Zeng Jinyan, is still under house arrest with their newborn baby.

Amnesty International considers Hu Jia a prisoner of conscience and has demanded his immediate and unconditional release. The organization urges the International Olympic Committee and world leaders with a stake in the Olympics to publicly express their concern about his plight – and that of numerous other peaceful activists in China who have been silenced in the run-up to the Games. A failure to speak out would be a “conspiracy of silence” that will be perceived by the authorities as a tacit endorsement of such repression.

Hu started his activism as an AIDS activist in 2001. He is the co-founder of the Beijing Aizhixing Institute of Health Education and of Loving Source, a grassroots organization dedicated to helping children from AIDS families.

However, due to his activities and outspokenness, Hu Jia was repeatedly harassed and beaten by police. According to his wife Zeng Jinyan: “Not counting one time in 2002, when Hu was detained by police while interviewing AIDS village inhabitants, he will have been under various forms of imprisonment for exactly four years on 3 April 2008.”

Hu’s focus broadened and he began reporting on wider human rights violations and giving interviews to foreign media. In November 2007, he participated via webcam in a European Union parliamentary hearing in Brussels in which he stated that China had failed to fulfill its promises to improve human rights in the run-up to the Olympics.

In an article on his blog dated 10 September 2007, Hu Jia says: “Everyone should know that the country that is about to host the Olympics is one without democratic elections, freedom of religion, independent courts or independent unions. It prohibits protests and labor strikes. It is a state that carries out widespread torture, discrimination, and employs a large secret police system. It is a nation that violates human rights standards and human dignity, and is not ready to fulfil its international obligations.”

In a joint press conference with UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband in Beijing on February 28 2008, China’s foreign minister Yang Jiechi said: “No one will get arrested because he said that human rights are more important than the Olympics. This is impossible.”

Amnesty International believes this verdict makes a mockery of the notion that Chinese citizens are free to hold opinions and to speak their mind without retribution from the authorities, and serves as a warning to other activists in China who might dare raise human rights concerns publicly.

– Original report from Amnesty International: Hu Jia jailed for three and a half years

–  Outspoken Beijing Rights Activist Hu Jia Jailed Ahead of China Olympics

Posted in Activist, AIDS, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, Dissident, Health, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, Sports, World | 1 Comment »

Outspoken Beijing Rights Activist Hu Jia Jailed Ahead of China Olympics

Posted by Author on April 3, 2008

AFP, via Times of India, 3 Apr 2008-

BEIJING: Activist Hu Jia was sentenced on Thursday to three years and six months in jail for subversion, his lawyer said, amid what rights groups charge is a campaign by China to silence dissent before the Olympics.

The verdict against Hu, 34, was delivered at a court in Beijing after he pleaded not guilty to “incitement to subvert state power” during his one-day trial on March 18, lawyer Li Fangping said.

Li said the charge had related to Hu posting information on the Internet and speaking with foreign reporters.

“The evidence was publishing articles in and outside of China and accepting interviews with the foreign press,” Li told reporters outside the court.

“As lawyers we propose that Hu Jia appeal this sentence but it is up to him and we will wait for his decision. We have not had a chance to exchange ideas with him so far.”

Hu had for many years been one of China’s most active human rights campaigners, and the European Union had called for his release following his detention on December 27 last year.

Hu’s sentence came less than two weeks after another critic of the Chinese government, Yang Chunlin, was jailed for five years on similar charges after speaking out on human rights issues ahead of the Beijing Games.

Rights groups have regularly criticised China’s use of the subversion of state power charge as a tool to silence anyone critical of the Communist Party, a campaign they have said has intensified ahead of the Games.

They have argued this is in contravention of the pledges China made to win the Games that it would improve its human rights record.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last month denied that Beijing was cracking down on dissidents ahead of the Olympics.

“As for the critics’ view that China is trying to increase its efforts to arrest dissidents before the Olympic Games, I think such accusations are totally unfounded. There is no such question at all,” Wen told reporters.

– Original report from Times of India: Chinese activist Hu Jia jailed ahead of Olympics: Lawyer

Posted in Activist, AIDS, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, Health, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, Sports, World | Comments Off on Outspoken Beijing Rights Activist Hu Jia Jailed Ahead of China Olympics

How Not to Fight HIV/ AIDS in China

Posted by Author on January 28, 2008

Joe Amon, The Guardian, January 28, 2008-

There’s a new public service announcement on HIV/Aids on Chinese TV. Starring Jackie Chan and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it features a man and a woman spinning through the air in a not-so-subtle combat which includes elements of courtship, foreplay and climax. The ad ends with Chan saying: “In life, we need to be safe. Life is too good. Please protect yourself.” Sounds promising? Actually it’s a remarkable distillation of everything we know that doesn’t work in the fight against HIV/Aids.

More than 25 years into the global Aids epidemic, one thing we’ve learned is that you can’t fight HIV through artful, oblique messages approved by government ministries and broadcast on television. Where HIV prevalence has declined, what has made the difference is frank, specific discussion about HIV, why people are at risk and what can be done to avoid infection. Grassroots, community-led efforts which empower those at highest risk have been critical, and the emergence of an organised, vocal civil society, advocating an end to sexual violence and access to information, condoms, clean needles, and medicines, have changed the face of the epidemic in many countries.

While the Chinese government has taken some steps in this direction, too much of the response remains style over substance. Those groups most vulnerable to infection – injecting drug users, men who have sex with men, and sex workers – are still routinely harassed and abused by the police, and driven away from the information and services that could help them. Aids activists continue to be detained, intimidated and prevented from speaking out.

In 2007, public security forces in Guangdong, Guangzhou and Kaifeng cancelled meetings of Aids activists, academics and programme implementers, and ordered the closure of two offices of a nonprofit organisation working on Aids in Henan provinces. Eighty-year-old Aids activist Dr Gao Yaojie was barred from going to the US to receive a human rights award until an international outcry forced the Chinese government to relent, and 2005 Reebok human rights award winner Li Dan and the husband-and-wife HIV/Aids activist team of Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan have been repeatedly detained and put under house arrest.

In November, two weeks before the advertisement by Jackie Chan launched, Hu was beaten up by the police on his way to the hospital to visit his pregnant wife, and in late December Hu was arrested for “inciting subversion”. His wife and infant have been prevented from leaving their home. Human Rights Watch has also learned that Hu’s lawyers have been denied access to their client because the case involved “state secrets”. At about the same time that Hu was detained, Dr Wan Yan Hai, a prominent Chinese Aids advocate and the developer of China’s first HIV/Aids telephone hotline and website was briefly detained.

Along with the unveiling of the Jackie Chan advertisement, the Gates foundation announced last month that it was launching a new $50m HIV/Aids programme. The foundation spent months negotiating its entry into China and plans to use nearly half of its money directly funding the Ministry of Health. Like the TV advertisement, the Gates Foundation’s decision to directly fund the Chinese government is a decision rooted less in what will be effective at driving down HIV prevalence, and more in what is considered “acceptable”. Not surprisingly, the foundation has had no comment on the detention of those activists working on the front lines in the fight against Aids in China.

It’s easy to ask people to protect themselves. To stop the Aids epidemic in China we also need to ask the Chinese government not to harass, intimidate and beat up those seeking the means to be protected.

Original report from the Guardian

Posted in Activist, AIDS, China, Family, Health, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Life, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Report, Social, World | 2 Comments »

China Orders Website to Delete the Henan Province AIDS Report

Posted by Author on September 15, 2007

China Scope Magazine, 09/12/2007-

Domain name provider has been ordered to delete a report on the Henan AIDS disaster from its website, according to the Beijing Aizhixing Institute [1].

Government officials reportedly told the provider that the report contains reactionary information. The AIDS report reveals that during the 1980s and 1990s, Henan health department officials hoped to reap economic benefits by encouraging farmers to sell their blood. Experts estimate that during that period, several hundred thousand people were infected with HIV; some have died. [2]

Journalists and experts investigating AIDS in Henan have been stymied by local government interference. Some were subjected to verbal warnings and were expelled, while others were given written warnings. “Now the government, particularly the local government, is still evading responsibility. However, experts believe that AIDS’ spread in China in the late 1990s to some extent was due to the government,” says Li Fangping, a Beijing attorney working for the rights of AIDS patients. Li questions whether funding from the international community that was intended to combat the AIDS epidemic could be monitored and utilized effectively. claims it is the largest domain name and virtual server provider in China.




[1] Beijing Aizhixing Institute is a non-governmental organization based in Beijing. Its purpose is to “fight discrimination and protect the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS as well as to put forward policies which protect the rights and interests of minorities, vulnerable communities and people living with contagious diseases.” ( [2] Radio Free Asia, September 10, 2007

– Original report from : Website Ordered to Delete the Henan AIDS Report

Posted in AIDS, censorship, Central China, China, Health, Henan, Internet, Life, News, Politics, Social, website, World | 1 Comment »

China Needs To Speed Up AIDS Fight: U.N.

Posted by Author on September 10, 2007

By Jason Subler, Reuters, Sep 9, 2007-

DALIAN, China (Reuters) – China needs to speed up efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS by giving freer rein to civil society organizations and enrolling the help of companies, a U.N. official said.

Peter Piot, head of the United Nations AIDS agency UNAIDS, gave Beijing high marks for opening up official policy towards AIDS, once stigmatized as a disease of the West.

But a gap between centrally-made rules and implementation by local authorities was impeding prevention efforts, threatening China with an even bigger human and financial toll, Piot said in an interview.

“It’s act now, or pay later,” Piot said. “Given the fantastic economic development and the social transformation that is going on …, delaying or being slow in terms of implementing the policies will result in the spread of HIV.”

Side-effects of economic growth, including swelling populations, have helped feed high-risk activities like the sex trade and presented authorities with new challenges, Piot said.

Armies of men have moved from their villages to the cities to help build roads, office blocks and factories that serve as the backbone of the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

That economic engine is also being greased by roving businessmen, who are widely known to be another major client source for sex workers.


“This whole, let’s say, sexual entrepreneurship is a side-effect of rapid economic growth and new wealth,” Piot said. “(It’s about) mobile men with money or without money.”

Piot, attending a meeting of the World Economic Forum, said it was especially important that authorities gave more freedom to civil society organizations more quickly, as they are best placed to reach out to marginalized groups.

“I don’t know of any society that has dealt successfully with AIDS where civil society groups … do not have the space to do their work,” he said. “It’s hard for government to do. Just think of gay men, or men who have sex with men — how could the government do that, organize that?”

China keeps a tight grip on non-governmental organizations.

Rights groups say local officials, particularly in Henan province, have banned some activists from holding meetings and shut down other groups.

Henan was one of China’s first areas hit by AIDS, with many people contracting the virus through contaminated blood in the 1990s. An estimated 650,000 people are now living with HIV/AIDS in China……. (more details from Reuters)

Posted in AIDS, Businessman, Central China, China, Economy, Family, Health, Henan, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Rural, Social, World | Comments Off on China Needs To Speed Up AIDS Fight: U.N.

Mountains Move Easier Than the Chinese Communist Party

Posted by Author on August 30, 2007

By Frank Ching, Special to The China Post, Taiwan, August 29, 2007-

There’s a Chinese saying that says “It is easier to move a mountain than change a person’s nature.” This is similar to the English expression that a zebra cannot change its stripes.

Time and again, the Chinese authorities through their actions have confirmed the truth of the saying. They just did it again a few days ago when they stopped the wife of a blind activist serving a prison term from leaving the country.

The activist, Chen Guangcheng, who has been blind since childhood and studied law on his own in order to help farmers with grievances to file court cases, is in prison after he documented cases of forced abortions and other abuses by officials in Shandong province.

He was jailed on what appeared to be trumped-up charges of damaging property and organizing a mob to disturb traffic. In recognition of his “irrepressible passion for justice in leading ordinary Chinese citizens to assert their legitimate rights under the law,” Chen was chosen to receive the 2007 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership.

Since he was behind bars, his wife, Yuan Weijing, decided to go to Manila to receive the award on his behalf. However, before she could board the plane, police apparently barred her passage from Shandong’s Linyi region, removed her baggage from the plane and confiscated her passport.

These officials did not provide any reason for denying her the right to travel. No doubt they did not want her to publicize the case of her husband, which would only further embarrass the provincial authorities.

But they do not seem to realize that by doing so, they will bring international opprobrium down on China — not just Shandong province. By trying to shield themselves, they are hurting the nation, showing the world that China is not a country where the rule of law is respected.

This behavior is consistent with China’s treatment of other individuals in the country who have distinguished themselves. In 2004, the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service was given to Dr. Jiang Yanyong in recognition of “his brave stand for truth in China, spurring life-saving measures to confront and contain the deadly threat of SARS.”

While the SARS virus was spreading in China in late 2002 and 2003, the Chinese government was covering up the severity of the epidemic. It was Dr. Jiang who leaked the information to Western news agencies. When Western countries put pressure on China, Beijing fired the minister of public health and took steps to deal with the epidemic, preventing it from reaching pandemic proportions.

Needless to say, Dr. Jiang was prevented from leaving the country to receive the justly earned award. China did not want the world to be reminded of its cover-up, an act that led to the deaths of hundreds of people outside the mainland.

The elderly physician Gao Yaojie, now 79 years old, has had an even worse experience. She embarrassed authorities in Henan province by exposing how HIV was spread in the province through illegal blood sales. In 2001, she was awarded the Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights, but was put under house arrest and prevented from receiving the award. In 2003, she was honored with the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service and again prevented from receiving it.

This year, she was chosen by Vital Voices Global Partnership, a nonprofit group, to receive its 2007 Global Women’s Leadership Award for Human Rights. Again, the provincial authorities put her under house arrest.

It was only after Senator Hillary Clinton intervened that Beijing allowed Ms. Gao go to leave the country to receive the richly deserved award. At the time, she said that the situation in China was improving, since for the first time she was actually allowed to receive an award.

However, with the latest incident involving the wife of Chen Guangcheng, it would appear that the situation in China has not improved. Local officials are still doing everything possible to keep embarrassing information from coming out, and are willing to go to great lengths to achieve this, embarrassing the country as a result.

In the meantime, the central government is simply sitting on its hands by allowing local officials to abuse their power and punish upright citizens, the cream of Chinese society. This is a sad commentary on China, its ruling Communist party, and on the sense of values (or lack thereof) on the part of the Chinese government.

– original report from China Post: Mountains move easier than China

Posted in Activist, AIDS, Beijing, Birth control, Central China, Chen Guangcheng, China, Commentary, Communist Party, East China, Freedom of Speech, Health, Henan, Human Rights, Law, medical, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Shandong, Social, Spiritual, World | Comments Off on Mountains Move Easier Than the Chinese Communist Party

Changing HIV / Aids trends in China

Posted by Author on August 23, 2007

BBC News, 22 August 2007-

Unsafe sex has, for the first time, become the main means of transmission of HIV/Aids in China, overtaking injecting drug use. The BBC’s Jill McGivering looks at some of the issues this will raise.

In many ways, the pattern of spread of HIV/Aids in China was predictable.

It mirrors similar patterns in many other countries.

Initial clusters of cases in the 1980s and 1990s were attributed to specific causes.

Many infections came from contaminated blood transfusions, a product of poor screening and the then badly-regulated practice of buying and selling blood.

Most other cases were amongst injecting drug users and, until now, drug use was the main means of transmission nationally.

So news from Chinese officials that sex has now overtaken drug use as the main cause of HIV/Aids suggests confirmation of a new phase. It confirms that HIV is more fully entrenched in the mainstream population.

The news will also force the Chinese authorities to grasp a very painful nettle and pursue more aggressive mainstream education campaigns to prevent the further spread of HIV.

That is challenging for almost every society. For China, it will be particularly difficult.

Changing attitudes

Fear about a more rapid spread of HIV through sex comes just as China is starting to change its sexual behaviour.

In the recent past, it has been a conservative society – both in its attitudes and its practices.

That is changing. China’s process of opening up to the outside world has exposed its population to more liberal ideas – from fashion to sex.

Greater freedom of movement has allowed millions of migrant workers to swap the watchful, generally repressive, eyes of their families and communities for the anonymity of the city.

Male workers, away from their wives and parents, have more opportunity, at lower social risk, to expand their sexual horizons.

Some surveys, cited in the state media, suggest one in 10 sexually active men has bought sex from a prostitute. The real number may be higher.

Punitive official attitudes towards sex workers, who operate in a grey area legally, make it difficult to target them in education and health programmes.

Even if sex workers know about HIV/Aids, it can be difficult for them to insist that clients use condoms.

Premarital sex is also becoming more acceptable.

One recent survey of sexual attitudes found that more than half of the people questioned thought pre-marital sex was acceptable.

The percentage was highest amongst the young.

Embarrassment and horror

But when it comes to talking, sex is still a taboo subject.

Last year, I visited Ruili in Yunnan Province. The town, close to the border with Burma, is sometimes dubbed the HIV capital of China.

Some of the country’s first cases appeared here and the infection rate is one of the highest in the country.

It is also one of the most progressive in addressing HIV education. But even here, there was embarrassment and denial when we talked to officials about the sex workers who were clearly visible on the town’s streets.

When I went to see a pioneering sex education class for teenagers – a controversial concept in China – the teenagers collapsed in embarrassed giggles and hoots of laughter when asked basic questions about puberty and dating.

When I asked some of them later if their parents had ever talked to them about sex, they looked horrified at the very idea.

Acute embarrassment, censorious attitudes from figures of authority – from officials to parents – and a lack of medical confidentiality; these all mean that sexual behaviour is difficult to assess and sexual health hard to track.

Many people with sexual transmitted infections are reluctant to seek help at all.

But the warning signs are there. A recent report on syphilis suggested rates are rising at an alarming speed. That is a concern in itself – but it is also a frightening indicator.

As one doctor described it, the spread of syphilis is a metaphor for the spread of other sexually transmitted infections – and untreated syphilis will amplify the spread of HIV as well.

Original report from BBC News

Posted in AIDS, China, Economy, Education, Family, Health, News, People, Politics, Social, South China, teenager, World | 1 Comment »

China: AIDS Activist’s Conference Banned

Posted by Author on August 18, 2007

Reuters, Aug 15, 2007-

BEIJING, Aug 15 (Reuters) – A Chinese province that was one of the country’s first areas hit by AIDS has banned a group of activists from holding a meeting about how to combat the disease, saying it was illegal, an AIDS group said on Wednesday.

The conference would have brought together 30 Chinese “grass-roots” AIDS activists and experts in the impoverished central province of Henan from Aug. 19-20.

In the 1990s, thousands of farmers in Henan were infected with the disease through schemes in which people sold blood to unsanitary, often state-run, clinics.

Henan authorities scrapped the meeting despite the organisers abiding by demands to prevent foreigners, media or even people from outside the province from participating, Meng Lin from China Alliance of People Living with HIV/AIDS, told Reuters.

“We just wanted to share our experience with other AIDS organisations so as to help patients, and also help the government to fight the disease,” Meng, who has AIDS himself, said by telephone.

“The government said our organisation was not registered and was illegal,” he added.

A senior Henan government official, who declined to be identified, said he could not comment as he had “no knowledge” of the issue.

China has become increasingly open about tackling a problem once stigmatised as a disease of the decadent West, yet remains wary of the involvement of non-governmental or foreign groups.

Peter Piot, head of the United Nations AIDS agency UNAIDS, said last month during a trip to China that it was essential the government stop harassing or jailing activists.

Earlier in the year, Henan officials tried to stop Gao Yaojie — a doctor who helped expose the rural AIDS epidemic there — from going to Washington to collect a human rights award. They let her go after an international outcry.

An estimated 650,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in China, and health experts say the disease is moving into the general population with most new infections now spread sexually, although drug-users follow closely behind.

– Original report from Reuters: China’s Henan bans AIDS activist meeting -group

Posted in Activist, AIDS, Central China, China, Event, Health, Henan, News, People, Politics, Social, World | 1 Comment »

China Bans AIDS Rights Meeting For The Subject “too sensitive”

Posted by Author on July 30, 2007

Reuters, Jul 29, 2007-

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has banned AIDS activists from holding a meeting on the rights of people with the disease, one of the organisers said on Sunday, citing official fears over foreign involvement in the sensitive subject.

The conference would have brought together 50 Chinese and foreign experts and activists to discuss how to press the legal rights of people with HIV/AIDS.

But government authorities told the New York-based Asia Catalyst group to cancel the meeting planned for early August in Guangzhou near Hong Kong in the south, said Sara Davis, one of the organisers.

“Authorities informed us that the combination of AIDS, law and foreigners was too sensitive,” Davis told Reuters. There were no plans to reschedule the meeting, she said.

Phone calls to government spokesmen in Guangzhou and Beijing were not answered on Sunday.

China has become increasingly open about AIDS in recent years, facing up to an epidemic once stigmatized as a disease of the West.

The nation had 203,527 officially registered cases of HIV/AIDS by the end of April, up from 183,733 at the end of October 2006. Of the latest figure, 52,480 had progressed to full-blown AIDS.

But the United Nations estimates the true number of HIV/AIDS cases in the country to be around 650,000.

Nowadays, Beijing backs campaigns to educate citizens on avoiding infection, and victims infected through reckless commercial blood collection in rural Henan province have been given free medicines.

But officials in the one-party state remain wary of local activists and foreign groups pressing legal claims of infected citizens or raising official complicity in the spread of the disease. Henan has informally blocked patients from suing officials over tainted blood. (…… more details from Reuters)

Posted in AIDS, Central China, China, Event, Guangdong, Guangzhou, Health, Henan, Law, News, People, Politics, SE China, Social, USA, World | Comments Off on China Bans AIDS Rights Meeting For The Subject “too sensitive”

China Tries To Get Grip on AIDS As It Spreads In Rural Provinces

Posted by Author on July 23, 2007

Kathleen E. McLaughlin, Chronicle Foreign Service, San Francisco Chronicle, July 22, 2007-

(07-22) 04:00 PDT Husa, China — From a distance, the collection of quaint wooden farmhouses folded into lush, terraced hills is a picture postcard of rural Asia, complete with colorful ethnic garb, water buffalo and lush green fields.

Get closer and you’re at ground zero of China’s AIDS epidemic.

Nearly 200 people, out of 20,000 populating this loosely knit collection of villages, are known to be infected with the virus that causes AIDS. The 1 percent infection rate is repeated throughout this southwestern corner of Yunnan Province, home of the nation’s first indigenous AIDS case, discovered in 1989.

Thought far higher than most places in China, it also is an omen, some fear, of how the disease is spreading nationwide. By 2010, AIDS cases in Yunnan province are expected to double to an estimated 150,000, despite the enormous resources being poured into prevention efforts here. But that increase is dwarfed by the estimated 30 percent annual growth rate for all of China, according to estimates compiled by international health agencies.

The dimensions of China’s epidemic, and the efforts to stop it, can be seen in miniature at the barren farmhouse of 62-year-old Liang Youqi.

Liang, a member of the dwindling, dirt-poor Achang minority, earns 10 yuan ($1.30) a day, which he splits with his three grown sons, who look after two donkeys and a few other scattered animals for another family in Husa.

Things used to be better for Liang when he was an opium farmer in Burma (now officially called Myanmar) — before he developed a taste for smoking the drug, then for injecting its derivative, heroin. He doesn’t remember when he first used a needle, nor how he came to sell all of his possessions to feed his habit, but he knows he never heard of AIDS until he discovered he was infected.

“I felt tired all the time and wondered if there was something wrong with my health,” said Liang, recalling his fateful blood test two years ago.

Fortunately for Liang, he is one of a tiny minority — an estimated 3 percent of AIDS/HIV patients eligible in China — who knows about and receives life-saving antiretroviral drugs gratis, courtesy of the Chinese government.

That Liang gets $4,000 worth of medication every month is largely thanks to a fellow villager, a 36-year-old HIV-infected former schoolteacher who runs a makeshift nongovernmental organization in the mountains of Yunnan province.

Liu Hongshan thinks he got the virus from unprotected sex while working as a truck driver before he was married. Now, when he’s not holding training sessions and AIDS support groups in his house, he’s riding his motorcycle over winding mountain roads, going from home to home of HIV-positive villagers. He checks in on how they feel, whether they are taking their pills twice a day and on time, and whether they are experiencing side effects.

On a recent stop at Liang’s farmhouse, Liu hands the older man 10 yuan to add to his meager income. He explains later that although AIDS/HIV sufferers can get costly medicines, they are extremely poor and often malnourished.

“The biggest problem here is poverty,” says Liu, who scrapes by on piecemeal international grants, while depending on his wife’s rice-noodle business for a family income. “They can get medication, but without food, they cannot live.”

The logic behind Liu’s mission is simple: HIV/AIDS is a scourge. Despite massive government efforts like free methadone clinics, drug use — the main HIV transmission route in China — remains rampant in this region and the infection rate is rising.

For Liu, it is also personal. He has a wife and two small children, who aren’t infected. “My only hope is that my children won’t be affected by AIDS any further,” he says.

Others here may not be so lucky. Li Shengcang, Husa’s village doctor, points to the hundreds of young men from the village, who travel back and forth to work in the factories in China’s thriving coastal regions. They — like tens of millions of rural Chinese across the country — have to migrate to make money. But in the process, untold numbers indulge in drug use and other high-risk behavior, potentially spreading the disease to themselves and others.

As a mouse scurries across his sparsely stocked clinic’s floor, Dr. Li says all he can do is dispense antiretroviral drugs and counsel the afflicted. “I’m worried for the future of this village,” he says.

Government agencies and aid groups are trying various preventive measures in the region. Sex workers in Ruili, the closest big city to Husa, for example, get educational visits each week and an HIV test every three months. In a row of garage-like brothels facing the fence that separates China from Burma in nearby Jiegao, the working girls — and some of them are, literally, girls — easily recite the methods of HIV transmission. As one of them heads upstairs with a client for a $7 session, she grabs a condom off the counter.

Still, most anything is for sale here, and sex without a condom would not cost much more. The women are transient, some coming from nearby villages, others from Burma, and most leave after a few months. Their clients, Burmese and Chinese, are also migratory — mostly traders and truckers. That makes both groups harder to trace, harder to test and harder to educate.

In spite of the challenges, the Chinese authorities are making inroads, their efforts praised by UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot, among others. In Yunnan province, notes Hu Bin, consultant for the international HIV/AIDS advisory group Health Policy Initiative, 50 percent of HIV-positive people at least know their status, compared to one-quarter nationally. And nongovernmental agencies are now finding it easier to work in China — except, notably, when it comes to releasing information to the media about the incidence of AIDS.

“We couldn’t even talk about HIV/AIDS before. Now we can talk,” says Hu.

“We couldn’t work with international NGOs before. Now we can.”

That isn’t true everywhere, including in China’s other primary AIDS battleground, central Henan province, where thousands of farmers have been infected through tainted blood. Fear of reprisals prevent many local nongovernmental organizations from speaking with journalists or revealing HIV/AIDS statistics, which they say are privileged government information.

In Husa, statistics matter less to Liu Hongshan than teaching other villagers how to survive. Sitting under the lone, bare bulb lighting his office, he says that although the local government hasn’t given him any money to continue his AIDS education efforts, they let him do his work.

“The people in my village at first refused to even see the doctor about this disease, but I can get on my motorcycle and go to them, and explain,” he says. “Because I’m local, they trust me.”

This article appeared on page A – 4 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Posted in AIDS, Asia, Central China, China, Economy, Family, Health, Henan, Life, medical, News, People, Politics, Rural, SE China, Social, South China, World, Yunnan | 1 Comment »

Growing Censorship of socio-economic News: Pro-china Newsletter Banned by Beijing

Posted by Author on July 12, 2007

Reporters Without Borders, 12 July 2007-

Reporters Without Borders has condemned a ban on the online publication China Development Brief and warned diplomats and investors in China of a growing censorship of socio-economic news, preventing any reliable assessment of the real state of the country.

The Beijing Statistics Bureau and the Public Security Bureau on 4 July ordered the site’s founder Nick Young to halt publication. The authorities did not order the site’s closure as such, since the server is British, but warned Young that any further publication would be “illegal”.

“We tend to believe that official censorship only affects ’sensitive’ political issues and only targets political activists”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

“The closure of websites like China Development Brief shows that the spectre of Chinese censorship is much broader and affects news about Chinese society which is not in the interests of the communist party. It should also warn companies working in China about the risks of investing in a country where all social and economic figures are massaged by the government.

“How can one invest calmly in this country when there are no independent figures available on, for example, social development or public health policy?” Reporters Without Borders asked.

Beijing-based China Development Brief ( exists in both English and Chinese versions. Since it was founded in 1995, it has become a major source of information on the development of China’s civil society. Its twice-monthly newsletter counts the World Bank, UN agencies and many NGOs among its subscribers.

The website recently published articles and analyses on sensitive subjects such as the Aids epidemic and rioting in protest against the single child policy. The editorial line of the Chinese version, which was launched in 1999, was however cautious about sensitive issues in China and was not in any way opposed to the government.

The journal’s founder and editor voiced surprise at the decision. “I have always taken a positive angle on the situation in China. I hope that these measures are the work of zealous state security agents and that more important figures in the communist party will realise that actions of this kind are not in China’s interests”, he told Agence France Presse.

The Statistics Bureau told Nick Young that he had broken the law on statistics by carrying out unauthorised investigations.

“None of the China Development Brief reports amounted to real investigations or polls, but the authorities said that this law applies to any kind of investigation, including going to speak to people,” Young added. The Public Security Bureau declined to comment on the case to AFP.

In February 2007, Reporters Without Borders condemned the filtering of the website of the International Crisis Observatory (, after it published an article headlined “Shanghai, my love” which informed companies about the risks of commercial relations with China. The organisation commented that already “the filtering of this site shows that censorship of the Chinese Net goes well beyond ’subversive’ political content”. (

– Report from Reporters Without Borders: Ban on China Development Brief seen as part of growing censorship of socio-economic news

Pro-china Newsletter Closed, British founder fears deportation, Jul. 12, 2007

Posted in AIDS, Asia, Beijing, censorship, China, Economy, Europe, Internet, Investment, Law, Media, News, Politics, Social, Speech, website, World | Comments Off on Growing Censorship of socio-economic News: Pro-china Newsletter Banned by Beijing

China: Media Freedom Under Assault Ahead of 2008 Olympics (1)

Posted by Author on June 1, 2007

Harassment of Journalists, Censorship Still Prevalent Despite Official Pledges

Human Rights Watch, May 31, 2007-

(Hong Kong, May 31, 2007) – The Chinese government is backtracking on new rules that allow much greater freedom to foreign journalists, and is continuing to deny comparable freedoms to Chinese journalists, Human Rights Watch said today.

Moreover, there are indications that a further tightening of restrictions on the domestic media – already subject to systemic censorship and recurrent crackdowns – is looming, and journalists’ sources are being targeted for reprisal by local officials.

“The Chinese government is already failing to deliver on its pledge to fully lift restrictions for foreign journalists ahead of the Beijing Games,” said Sophie Richardson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “These arbitrary restrictions on press freedoms undermine the new regulations, and raise questions about the government’s commitment to implement them in the first place.”

The new freedoms are set out in the “Service Guide for Foreign Media,” published on the Web site of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games. That document states that “the Regulations on Reporting Activities by Foreign Journalists shall apply to the coverage of the Beijing Olympic Games and the preparation as well as political, economic, social and cultural matters of China by foreign journalists, in conformity with Chinese laws and regulations.” The temporary regulations are in effect from January 1, 2007 until October 17, 2008.

But the new temporary regulations intentionally exclude domestic journalists from enjoying such freedoms. Chinese citizens who work for foreign media organizations in China are likewise excluded, as Chinese law expressly forbids their citizens from working as journalists for foreign publications or electronic media and relegates them instead to the roles of “assistant” or “researcher.”

“There is no justification for denying to Chinese journalists even the limited freedoms that their foreign colleagues enjoy,” said Richardson. “If China is genuine about press freedom for the Olympics, it must also emancipate its own journalists.”

While China’s constitution nominally guarantees “publishing freedom,” an array of national media regulations which include vague and sweeping prohibitions on the publication of material that “harms the honor or the interests of the nation,” “spreads rumors,” or “harms the credibility of a government agency,” are implicit threats to Chinese journalists who pursue stories deemed sensitive by the government. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, China already jails more journalists than any other country in the world, with some 30 known cases of journalists currently imprisoned for their reporting activities.

Prominent lawyers representing civil rights and human rights cases have also reported being given a blanket prohibition by state security agents requiring them to stop talking to foreign media, and several localities have adopted regulations prohibiting lawyers and court officials from talking to the media.

“The Chinese government must acknowledge that the freedom to report is not a privilege that can be subjected to the whims of local officials. It must be consistently and unequivocally upheld in all situations,” said Richardson.

Restrictions on Geography, Topics for Foreign Journalists

Despite the official pledge to allow foreign journalists to report freely from across China, several foreign journalists report having been told that in fact there are certain areas or regions they still cannot visit and certain subjects they cannot cover.

In March 2007, the military stopped BBC correspondent James Reynolds from reporting on the aftermath of a riot in Hunan province, telling him the new regulations were “only for Olympics-related stories.”

In at least four other instances since January 1, foreign correspondents have been stopped or detained in areas including villages of HIV-AIDS sufferers in Henan province and along China’s border with North Korea. The responsible state security personnel were either unaware of or unwilling to abide by the new regulations. Those journalists were released only after urgent phone calls to Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials demanding that local police respect their reporting freedom.

“We are encouraged by indications that China’s government has shown a willingness on certain occasions to ensure that officials at the grassroots enforce these new freedoms for foreign correspondents when pressed to do so,” Richardson said. “But this should obviously be the rule for all journalists, not the exception.”

Several foreign correspondents have been refused access to Tibet, a region with a long history of Chinese repression and for which journalists and tourists alike have long had to obtain special permission to visit. At a regular Ministry of Foreign Affairs press conference in February, an unidentified foreign correspondent stated that several journalists had recently been refused permission to visit despite the temporary regulations, and asked whether the regulations extended to coverage of Tibet.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Jiang Yu on February 13 justified the refusals as necessary due to unspecified “restraints in natural conditions and reception capacity” in Tibet, and said that foreign correspondents must still get permission from local authorities to report from the region despite the new temporary regulations.

Other journalists who have taken the Chinese government’s temporary regulations on reporting freedom at their word and traveled to Tibet independently without official permission have been subsequently summoned and criticized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, which is responsible for the accreditation of foreign journalists.

Tim Johnson, correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers of the US, wrote an article in May about the government’s “comfortable housing” campaign in which he reported the relocation of some 250,000 Tibetans “largely at their own expense and without their consent.” Johnson was subsequently told by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ head of the information department for North America, Europe and Oceania that his reporting from Tibet included statements considered “unacceptable” by the Chinese government, such as his assertion that foreign reporters are generally allowed in Tibet just once a year, and that China’s policy is repressive toward Tibetans.

On his blog, Johnson described the frustrations correspondents face in trying to get the Chinese government to observe its own regulations on foreign media freedom in Tibet and the risks that Tibetans face in speaking with foreign reporters: “I had sought permission to go far in advance through the Foreign Ministry and foreign affairs office of Lhasa, but received no reply … (and) once I had arrived, security agents followed me frequently, and people I had contact with were subject to lengthy interrogation and even hefty fines.”

“If the government is trumpeting commitments to new reporting freedoms, but then taking those freedoms away through incremental regulations and arbitrary actions against individual journalists, then there hasn’t really been any progress at all,” Richardson said. ( …… to be cont’d)

Next >>

original report from Human Rights Watch

Posted in AIDS, Beijing Olympics, censorship, Central China, China, Forced Evictions, Henan, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Lawyer, Media, News, People, Politics, Report, Riot, Social, Speech, Sports, Tibet, World | 1 Comment »

Amnesty International Report 2007 – China (2)

Posted by Author on May 24, 2007

Amnesty International, May 23, 2007-

(… cont’d)

Discrimination against rural migrants

Rural migrant workers in China’s cities faced wide-ranging discrimination. Despite official commitment to resolve the problem, millions of migrant workers were still owed back pay. The vast majority were excluded from urban health insurance schemes and could not afford private health care. Access to public education remained tenuous for millions of migrant children, in contrast to other urban residents. An estimated

20 million migrant children were unable to live with their parents in the cities in part because of insecure schooling.

• Beijing municipal authorities closed dozens of migrant schools in September, affecting thousands of migrant children. While authorities claimed to have targeted unregistered and sub-standard schools, onerous demands made it nearly impossible for migrant schools to be registered. Some school staff believed the closures were aimed at reducing the migrant population in Beijing ahead of the 2008 Olympics.

Violence and discrimination against women

Violence and discrimination against women remained severe. The disadvantaged economic and social status of women and girls was evident in employment, health care and education. Women were laid off in larger numbers than men from failing state enterprises. Women accounted for 60 per cent of rural labourers and had fewer non-agricultural opportunities than men. The absence of gender-sensitive anti-HIV/AIDS policies contributed to a significant rise in female HIV/AIDS cases in 2006. Only 43 per cent of girls in rural areas completed education above lower middle school, compared with 61 per cent of boys.

Despite strengthened laws and government efforts to combat human trafficking, it remained pervasive, with an estimated 90 per cent of cases being women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation.

• Chen Guangcheng, a blind, self-trained lawyer, was sentenced in August to a prison term of four years and three months on charges of “damaging public property and gathering people to stop traffic”. He had been arbitrarily confined to his home since September 2005 in connection with his advocacy on behalf of women undergoing forced abortions in Shandong Province. On appeal, the guilty verdict was overturned and the case sent back to the lower court for retrial, but the lower court upheld the original sentence.

Repression of spiritual and religious groups

The government continued to crack down on religious observance outside officially sanctioned channels. Thousands of members of underground protestant “house churches” and unofficial Catholic churches were detained, many of whom were ill-treated or tortured in detention. Members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement were detained and assigned to administrative detention for their beliefs, and continued to be at high risk of torture or ill-treatment.

• Bu Dongwei, a Falun Gong practitioner, was assigned to two and a half years’ Re-education through Labour in June for “activities relating to a banned organization” after police discovered Falun Gong literature at his home. He had been working for a US aid organization when he was detained.

• Pastor Zhang Rongliang, an underground church leader who had been repeatedly detained and imprisoned since 1976, was sentenced in June to seven and a half years’ imprisonment on charges of illegally crossing the border and fraudulently obtaining a passport. (to be cont’d…)

Page 1 2 3 4

original from Amnesty International

Posted in Activist, AIDS, Catholicism, Chen Guangcheng, Children, China, Christianity, Falun Gong, Health, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Rural, Social, Women | Comments Off on Amnesty International Report 2007 – China (2)

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