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Abgeschlossen am 13. Oktober 2010

Chinese HIV/AIDS activist risks torture

AI-Index: ASA 17/036/2010

HIV/AIDS activist Tian Xi has been detained since 17 August, in the central Chinese province of Henan, to stop him lobbying the authorities on behalf of people infected with HIV/AIDS through official malpractice. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Tian Xi contracted HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C through a blood transfusion in 1996, when he was nine years old. He went to the hospital where he had received that transfusion on 2 August 2010, to speak with the Principal of the hospital about compensation for himself and for others infected through transfusions there. The Principal refused to address his concerns and physically rebuffed him , and in some irritation Tian Xi pushed items off his desk.

Nearly 20 police officers and people in white coats came to Tian Xi's home on the night of 17 August, and took him to the Xincai County Number 2 People's Hospital, put him in a hospital room designated for people in police custody, with several police officers in the room. The next day he was transferred to Xincai police station for detention. He was formally arrested on 23 August and charged with "intentionally damaging property," in the form of hospital cups and other things that had been on the Principal's desk. His case was moved to the procurator on 25 August. According to his lawyer, who met him on 26 August, Tian Xi did not have adequate access to the medical treatment he needs.

Additional information

For years Tian Xi and his father have fought in vain for compensation from the local hospital and local government.
On 9 July, Tian Xi was in Beijing preparing to show a documentary he had made at a meeting organized by a Beijing-based health NGO, the Aizhixing Institute, where he had been an employee. The Beijing police forced the Aizixhing to cancel Tian Xi’s presentation and to cancel the entire meeting. The police held Tian Xi for six hours.  
On 23 July, Tian Xi received two phone calls from the Xincai County Communist Party secretary asking him to return to Henan and promising that if he did so, the local authorities would discuss compensation with him. However when Tian Xi returned from Beijing the Communist Party secretary refused to meet him.
Tian Xi's parents went to hospital and police station to find Tian Xi on 19 August, the police told them that they did not know where he was; on 21 August they received a criminal detention notice for  Tian Xi dated 18 August. Police refused to let Tian Xi’s parents visit him and give him the daily medication he needs. One police officer told Tian Xi's father that another HIV/AIDS activist who had previously been detained at the Xincai County police station had died within a week of being released, and said the same might happen to Tian Xi. When Tian Xi's lawyer met his client,, he said police had eventually given him some medication, but not regularly. He needs to take medicine three time a day, but police had skipped several doses.
In the 1990s many people contracted HIV through selling their blood to government-sanctioned blood-collecting stations, especially in Henan province. The blood-collection schemes became a useful source of income for villagers, but were often poorly managed and unsafe. More recently much of the spread of HIV in China has been through intravenous drug use and commercial sex, though there have been reports that people still are being infected as a result of the contaminated blood used for transfusions a decade ago (See  According to the health ministry, the estimated number of people living with HIV in China had reached 740,000 by October 2009, with deaths caused by AIDS totalling 49,845 since the first case was reported in 1985. (See UNAIDS data at:
NGOs and activists working on the issue face harassment and detention. Li Xige, a woman infected with HIV via blood transfusion in 1995 when she gave birth, who only realised she had been infected when her first daughter died of HIV/AIDS, has been under house arrest since 2006 to prevent her going to Beijing to protest.  
In May 2010, the director of the Aizhixing Institute, Wan Yanhai, felt forced to flee China because of the overwhelming pressure from the police in Beijing and other municipal government departments.
Dr Gao Yaojie, China’s most high-profile HIV/AIDS whistle-blower, left China for the USA in 2009. HIV/AIDS activist Hu Jia was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for "inciting subversion" in 2008.

Update on 21.9.2010

The County Court in Shangcai in Henan province  tried HIV/AIDS activist, Tian Xi, this morning. The trial which began at 9am lasted for three and a half hours and concluded without a verdict being announced.

Tian Xi is said to have appeared pale and weak. During the trial, he spoke emotionally stating: “I knew what would be the consequences of my behaviour but for the poor victims of HIV/AIDS I also knew that I needed to face the consequences. I am young person living with HIV/AIDS, I don’t want to spend my whole live petitioning in vain.”  

Tian Xi’s parents attended the trial. His mother wore white - the colour of death and often worn at funerals - as a sign of protest against the trial. At the end of the hearing, the police escorted her out of the court room, however, she suffered a heart attack in the police car had to be taken to a hospital.

Plain-clothed police took away the video camera of another activist and independent film-maker who was filming the protestors and the police who had gathered outside the Court. A legal scholar who tried to attend the trial was beaten outside the Court building.

We will update you again once the Court announces its verdict. It is however not possible to predict exactly when the verdict will be issued. In the meantime, you can still take action on the UA for him, which is available online at

If you received media queries regarding his trial, please refer to the above information.

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