Chinese Graduate Student Seeks to Establish Range of HIV/AIDS Services, Wall Street Journal Reports
The Wall Street Journal today profiles Li Dan, a graduate student in astronomy who hopes to build a factory in rural Dongguan, China, to provide jobs and income for people with HIV/AIDS. The factory project, which has received initial approval from local officials, is one of many projects Li and the Aizhi Action Project -- a Chinese not-for-profit organization composed of students, journalists and activists who seek to establish a range of HIV/AIDS services, including education and prevention efforts, poverty-alleviation programs and reduced-cost treatment -- hope to establish. According to the Journal, Li, who became involved in HIV/AIDS efforts through volunteer work with the Red Cross, is part of a "new breed" of activist in China, who instead of protesting and taking action against the government or without the government's knowledge, are "careful to include [government] officials in their plans when they can." Although it is estimated that more than one million Chinese have HIV/AIDS, the government has been slow to respond to the epidemic with social services, leaving room for volunteer organizations to fill the gap. Such independent groups have gained "broader official acceptance," but dangers still remain. Li has been questioned and detained by the police; however, the police were sympathetic to his cause. "They said, 'The work you do is very important,'" Li explained, adding that now, with official backing, he can move ahead with the factory project without being arrested. More than 100 people have contacted him about volunteering with the factory initiative, and he already has several donors lined up (Chang, Wall Street Journal, 4/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.