China AIDS Solidarity Network Calls for Release of 23-year-old Activist

Posted by , November 15, 2010 at 1:30pm

China AIDS Solidarity Network Calls for Release of 23-year-old Activist

AIDS activist Tian Xi has been detained since August.

Ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1, a group of activists at the China AIDS Solidarity Network are calling for the immediate release of Tian Xi, an AIDS activist detained in China since August for his ongoing efforts to petition officials to compensate him and tens of thousands of others infected with HIV through the contaminated national blood supply.

Untold numbers of Chinese were infected with HIV through blood transfusions in the 1990s. While many nations experienced similar outbreaks of HIV in the blood supply early in the epidemic, China is the only one that has refused to create a compensation program.

“Tian Xi … has shown a greater sense of responsibility for the Chinese blood disaster than many of those double his age who were, in fact, responsible,” said Meg Davis, China AIDS Solidarity Network cofounder. “With no other options, Tian Xi has repeatedly protested on behalf of himself and others, knowing that he would likely be imprisoned eventually, because he wanted to keep this issue alive.”

At age 9, after a blood transfusion, Tian Xi was diagnosed with HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. At 17 , he began working as an AIDS activist, lobbying for the rights of people with HIV/AIDS.

This August, according to Amnesty International, he visited the Henan province hospital where he received his transfusion. His goal was to speak with those responsible for the botched job. According to Amnesty, however, the hospital’s principal refused to address Tian Xi’s concerns, and physically rebuffed him. In irritation, Tian Xi pushed items off the principal’s desk.

Two weeks later, police officers and individuals in white coats arrived at Tian Xi’s home, took him to a hospital, and then later transferred him to police station, where he was arrested and charged with intentional damage of property. According to his lawyer, he did not have adequate access to the medical treatment he needs. He’s been detained since.

The detainment appears to be a calculated attempt to silence a known Chinese activist. According to internal government documents discovered by local supporters, the police had decided to arrest Tian Xi in March of this year, seeking to prevent him from fighting for government compensation for those who’ve been infected with HIV through the national blood supply.

How can I help?

  • Write to the UN and international donors—addresses included below—to raise his case with the Chinese government, and to demand compensation for all the victims of the contaminated blood supply. Use the letter below. Send the letter to the media and post it online.
  • Include Tian Xi’s photo in your World AIDS Day activities. Hold a moment of silence for him; light a candle for the thousands of rural people and their families devastated by HIV transmission in China’s blood supply. Post photographs of your action online. Just five minutes can help.
  • Share your photos and statements here, or e-mail and they’ll post it for you.
  • Spread the word. Pass this on to other groups. Share Tian Xi’s story and the Chinese blood disaster with other networks and organizations.

Tian Xi Sample Solidarity Letter

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