Ex-official Urges Probe of China ’90s HIV Epidemic
A former health official in China has openly called for an investigation of the blood-selling scandal in the 1990s in which thousands of people were infected with HIV. From the Washington Post:
His appeal this week for a full and open investigation highlights a contradiction in China’s AIDS policy. Even as the government has become more open and better at treating HIV, it has refused to acknowledge past lapses, which it fears could embolden citizens to challenge its legitimacy.
“Not even one word of apology has been given to the victims, much less those who died, this is not how politicians should act,” 78-year-old Chen Bingzhong wrote in an open letter to President Hu Jintao. “How can dealing with such a major disaster this way ever be explained to our countrymen, especially the many victims?!”
The Health Ministry did not respond to a faxed request for comment. The letter was distributed Sunday by Beijing Aizhixing Institute, an AIDS advocacy group, and is circulating on the Internet.
The scandal, which helped HIV gain a foothold in China, unfolded in the central province of Henan and is widely seen as a failure of government leadership.