Global Resources

Locked doors: the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS in China

Publisher: Human Rights Watch
Publication Date: Jan 2003
China faces what could be the largest HIV/AIDS epidemic in the world. At least 1.5 million men, women and children are affected, and probably many more. During the 1990s local authorities in at least 7 provinces were complicit in transmission of HIV to hundreds of thousands or even millions of villagers through an unsafe but highly profitable blood collection industry. People living with HIV/AIDS in China face widespread discrimination from state and society, and combined with lack of redress, this means they live like fugitives. China has the capacity to combat AIDS, as shown by increasing economic prosperity, and by the mobilisation to tackle SARS. However, the same energy has not been put into combating HIV/AIDS because this threatens China's trade and tourism less directly, and because those associated with the disease - sex workers, drug users, men who have sex with men and ethnic minorities - are considered expendable. This report based on archival research and fieldwork in Yunnan province, Beijing and Hong Kong, argues that it is in China's national interest to improve health system, genuinely implement its national HIV/AIDS action plan, and draw on the expertise and leadership of people living with HIV.