Sunday, May 09, 2010

Wan Yanhai: Exiled AIDS Activist

Wan Yanhai has been forced out of China. This is good news for the government and bad news for proponents of HIV & Human Rights issues. Wan was a tireless campaigner who through the past few decades (he's now 46) has exposed corruption within the government. From 1994-1997 he helped reveal the connection between blood transfusions and an outbreak of Aids in Henan province where over 150,000 people became HIV positive. In 2002, he was accused of "revealing state secrets" and detained for nearly a month after posting a government report on the internet showing that officials had ignored and covered up the blood contamination scandal. That's how they reward you in China.

Wan was the founder of the Aizhixing Institute, one of the mainland's most outspoken NGOs on issues related to Aids and sexual minorities. The government has been hounding Wan for years to the point where he began to fear for his family's well-being. That's how it's done in China - they target your family. Here's Wan from today's SCMP:
"It's my conscience. This society has too many problems and you have to have a sense of moral obligation towards it. So many children have been infected because of blood contamination. There are too many disasters in our society. We must work hard to make changes. Otherwise, we - our families, our children - will be victims, too."
Wan and his family are now in the U.S. where he intends to continue his work.

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