The Washington Post looks at how provinces are failing to implement policies set by the central government to help AIDS patients and stem the spread of the disease:
They say the gap between Beijing’s official position and the practices of local officials is the result of a political system that makes it difficult to impose reform at a grass-roots level. The central government has the means to curb the epidemic, they say, but the control and corruption inherent in a one-party system prevent courts and state-run news media from uncovering abuses.
The stakes are high. Experts fear that inaction by local officials in China is already contributing to spikes in the incidence of HIV/AIDS, which has spread from high-risk groups such as drug users and prostitutes to the larger public. There were 18,543 new cases of HIV reported in the first six months of this year, nearly as many as for all of last year, according to the official New China News Agency. China’s estimate of 650,000 AIDS cases, among a population of 1.3 billion people, is extremely low, domestic and international AIDS groups say. [Full text]