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China: HIV-positive people ill-treated by the police

The villagers were arrested last month during a police raid after hundreds of HIV-positive people protested about the lack of adequate health care in Xiongqiao.

It is reported that some of the villagers, including Children's rights, have been beaten with metal rods and electro-shock batons. At least 12 people were reportedly injured and several needed hospital treatment. Between three and six people are believed to remain in hospital.

An estimated one third to one half of the 600 residents of Xiongqiao are reported to be HIV-positive. They became infected through selling their blood to government – sanctioned blood collecting stations in the 1990s. The blood collection schemes were a useful source of income for villagers, but were poorly managed and unsafe. It is estimated that up to one million people may have been infected with the virus in this way in China.

Amnesty International said:

'Those detained in the police raid on 22 June must be given access to lawyers, their families and to full medical treatment while they remain in detention. The authorities must clarify the charges against the detainees and release them unless they are to be charged with a recognisably criminal offence.

'HIV/AIDS infections in this and other provinces, due to the operation of government sanctioned blood-collection centres in the 1990s, must be fully investigated and the findings of the investigation published.'

Amnesty International is appealing to medical professionals to take action on behalf of the 16 people who are imprisoned by writing to:

Director of the Henan Provincial Department of Justice
XU Guohong Tingzhang
8 Jingsilu
Zhengzhoushi 450003
People's Republic of China
Telegram: Justice Department Director, Zhengzhoy, Henan, China
Fax: 00 86 371 593 4433

Minister of Justice of the People's Republic of China
Zhang Fusen Buzhang
10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie, Chaoyangqu
Beijingshi 100020, People's Republic of China
Telegram: Minister of Justice, Beijing, China
Fax: 0086 10 65 292345

Minister of Public Health of the People's Republic of China
WU Yi Buzhang
1 Xizhimenwai
Xicheng District
Beijingshi 100044
People's Republic of China
Telegram: Health Ministar, Beijing, China

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