Posts Tagged ‘china’

AIDS killed 28,000 in China in 2011, study says

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

BEIJING — AIDS killed 28,000 people in China last year, and another 48,000 new infections from the HIV virus were discovered in the country, according to an official report on Saturday.

In China 780,000 people live with the HIV virus, of which 154,000 developed AIDS, a report jointly produced by China’s Ministry of Health, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organization said.

In September 2011 there were 136,000 people receiving anti-viral treatment for the disease, it said, making the treatment coverage rate 73.5 percent, an increase of 11.5 percentage points compared to 2009.

The report, quoted by China’s official state media Xinhua, said some new trends had appeared, notably “a rise in the number of imported cases and those transmitted sexually”.

Sexual relations are the first source of contamination of the HIV virus in China, where a huge blood contamination scandal erupted in the central Henan province in the 1990s.

HIV/AIDS sufferers have long been stigmatised in the country, and rights groups estimate the number of sufferers to be higher, but increased government education has helped raise awareness.

HIV-positive men urge China Premier to end discrimination

Monday, November 28th, 2011


Three prospective school teachers have appealed to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to end discrimination against people with HIV after they said they were wrongly denied teaching jobs because their employers discovered they had the virus that causes AIDS.

The landmark petition, delivered Monday by mail to the State Council Legislative Affairs Office, is a bold test of China’s promise to enforce the rule of law.

The three signatories had filed separate lawsuits against their local governments after provincial education bureaus rejected their applications for teaching jobs because mandatory blood tests revealed they were HIV positive, even though they had passed written tests and interviews.

The three men had hoped to persuade the courts that a five-year-old law supposed to protect the employment rights of people with HIV should supersede local regulations that prevent the hiring of HIV-infected civil servants.

Two courts in China have ruled against the two men who filed lawsuits against their governments in Anhui and Sichuan in 2010.

In the third lawsuit filed in Guizhou, the judge told the plaintiff in October the courts “will not accept the lawsuit and that the plaintiff should ask the local government to solve it,” Yu Fangqiang, whose Nanjing-based organization, Tianxia Gong, advocates for people with HIV, told Reuters.

“We know that in a country like China that has 1.3 billion people, 740,000 people who are infected with HIV is just a small portion of the population,” said the petition, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

“The voices to defend the employment rights of people with HIV tend to be drowned out by the majority’s sense of fear.”

“But we also know that the adherence to the country’s rule of law and the equality of its people is the country’s soul and is the backbone of the country’s modernization,” it said.

“Every Chinese citizen and every department will undoubtedly benefit from this and will not be subject to the threat of the unlawful deprivation of their legitimate rights and interests.”

Beijing was initially slow to acknowledge the problem of HIV/AIDS in the 1990s and had sought to cover it up when hundreds of thousands of impoverished farmers in rural Henan province became infected through botched blood-selling schemes.

But the government has since stepped up the fight against it, spending more on prevention programs, launching schemes to give universal access to anti-retroviral drugs to contain the disease, and introducing policies to curb discrimination.

The virus is now primarily spread in the country via sexual contact.

In a country where taboos surrounding sex remain strong and discussion of the topic is largely limited, people with HIV/AIDS say, however, they are often stigmatized.

Yu said that discrimination of people with HIV, especially in civil service recruitment, is “still a very big problem.”

People in China living with HIV and AIDS are routinely being denied medical treatment in mainstream hospitals due to fear and ignorance about the disease, according to a study released by the United Nations’ International Labor Organization (ILO) in May.

The petition, which was sent to the government office that helps to draft and oversee the implementation of laws, comes ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1.

The signatories to the petition said they had noted that Wen had previously “shown his concern” for people with HIV on the day, by “shaking the hands and embracing” HIV-infected people.

Gov’t staff get sensitivity training after gay tourism ban

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

The entire B.C. tourism division will receive sensitivity training after releasing a pamphlet prohibiting businesses from promoting gay tourism when dealing with China.

B.C. Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell released a report on the gaffe Thursday that blames the offending passage on “poor judgment, not malicious intent.”

The gay tourism reference was found on page 24 of the “How to Market Your Business to China” document, along with bans on touting B.C.’s casinos and gambling.

“Tourism BC will also require that any partner operator agrees” not to promote gay tourism, it reads, “per the China National Tourism Administration.”

The passage has since been removed.

The report concludes that tourism staff had ample time to locate the offensive language, and that the attribution to the CNTA was inaccurate.

“Staff did not follow proper procedures to ensure that senior ministry staff was aware of the questions being raised, or that they provided correct information to the Minister,” the report says.

In response to the investigation, the tourism division will receive sensitivity and procedural training, it adds.

Bell says he also offered a personal apology to New Democrat tourism critic Spencer Chandra Herbert, who described the inclusion of the ban as an apparent endorsement of discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The brochure also describes the Chinese market as “not a sophisticated” one, and partners are advised to view it “as we would with a child, for the day when they grow into a mature and strong adult.”

Hong Kong ‘gay cure’ doctor defends his role

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

HONG KONG – A Hong Kong psychiatrist who claims homosexuals can be “cured” defended his role Sunday, after he was hired to train government counsellors in a move that outraged gay rights activists.

Critics said it could be the world’s first government-sponsored session on gay conversion therapy.

But psychiatrist Hong Kwai-wah said his three-and-a-half hour training session for more than 60 social welfare staff on Friday did not emphasise gay conversion.

“The main point is not about gay conversion therapy,” the 56-year-old doctor told AFP in a telephone interview, saying he was “surprised and disappointed” over the attacks by activists.

“The main point is how to pay attention and give guidance to same-sex attracted youths and their parents, to understand their struggle and their needs,” said Hong, who specialises in “treating unwanted homosexuality”.

The doctor denied the training included sharing on gay conversion therapy methods such as prayer, cold showers and practising abstinence as a way to avoid same-sex relationships.

But he admitted he cited case studies to argue that gays can be treated and turned into heterosexuals. He also discussed how homosexuality develops and the difficulties faced by young people attracted to the same sex.

“I did mention about the possibility to change which is an option. We need to respect the client’s choice, whether they want to remain status quo or they want to live a heterosexual life,” said Hong.

“I presented all these facts. I want the social workers to know and make their own judgement, they are good enough and professional enough to make their own judgement.”

“We should not ban people from therapy if they want to change. We should respect their right,” said Hong, who is also founder of a Christian-linked group called the “New Creation Association”.

The association’s mission is to help people struggling with homosexuality, “restore their sexual wholeness and appreciate their gender identity given by God”, according to its website.

Since it was set up in 2004, it has handled more than 200 cases of people attracted to the same sex seeking help, of which 19 men later got married to women, said Hong.

“I don’t believe gays are born gays,” he said.

Hong’s training has sparked an outcry among gay rights campaigners in the southern Chinese city, who held a protest outside the Social Welfare Department’s office on Friday and called the training an “international joke”.

“The government seems to think that homosexuals are possessed by evil spirits and needed to be ‘cleansed’ or ‘cured’ through conversion therapy,” said Joseph Cho, a spokesman for gay rights group Rainbow Action.

The department has defended its decision to invite Hong, saying it had invited scholars and gay rights activists to speak previously and social workers need “knowledge from multiple perspectives” to make assessment.

Despite its reputation as an international financial hub, critics say Hong Kong remains a conservative city when it comes to gay rights, only decriminalising homosexuality in 1991.

A government survey in the 1990s concluded that most residents were “not ready” for laws banning discrimination against homosexuals, according to figures cited by academics.