Local Chinese Officials Denying AIDS Orphans Access to Shelters; Children Living in ‘Destitution,’ Assessment Says
Local governments in China's Henan province are denying HIV/AIDS orphans access to a network of shelters -- called Sunshine Houses -- and education provided by the network, "condemning" orphans to live "in destitution," according to an assessment made Monday by Wang Chongrun, founder of the Beijing Care Youth Education Research Center, the South China Morning Post reports. Wang, who spent three weeks visiting 20 villages in Henan, said that despite the allocation of funds for children's welfare, local government "pride" was forcing children to a "life of extreme poverty," according to the Morning Post. The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs defines AIDS orphans as children who have lost both parents to the disease, thereby excluding children abandoned by a remaining parent or children whose remaining parent is HIV-positive, according to the Morning Post. The children, who are ages eight to 15, live in unsanitary conditions, have inadequate clothing and do not continue their education past primary school, according to Wang, the Morning Post reports. In addition, the local governments rejected offers of support from outside organizations and created "false impressions" about the number of children being helped by the housing network, Wang said, according to the Morning Post. "Local governments want the operations to cost as little as possible," he said, adding, "Such false impressions must be stopped, otherwise the children will not receive any aid" (Cai, South China Morning Post, 1/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.