Prominent Chinese HIV/AIDS Advocate Released After Three-Day Detention, AIDS Conference Canceled, Colleagues Say
A prominent HIV/AIDS advocate in China, Wan Yanhai, was released today after being detained for three days, according to colleagues, AFP/Today Online reports (AFP/Today Online, 11/27). Wan was detained by individuals identifying themselves as Beijing security forces, colleagues at his organization, the Zhiaixing Information Counseling Center, said, the Washington Post reports. Wan, a former Health Ministry employee, had organized a six-day HIV/AIDS conference that was scheduled to begin on Sunday (Fan, Washington Post, 11/26). The conference, called "Blood Safety, AIDS and Legal Human Rights Workshop," would have gathered about 50 HIV-positive people who contracted the virus through unsafe blood transfusions in China (AFP/Today Online, 11/27). A colleague of Wan's said he and Wan on Friday morning were summoned to the property management office of their office compound in the Haidian neighborhood of Beijing by men saying they were from the Beijing Public Security Bureau. After confirming Wan's identity, the men asked Wan's colleague to leave. Another colleague said the property management staff said the men were from the criminal investigation section of the Haidian District Public Security Bureau. Wan called a colleague on Friday afternoon to say the conference had been canceled. Wan has worked to increase awareness about HIV/AIDS in China and in 2002 was detained for 26 days after he distributed a government report showing that officials knew about the emerging epidemic in Henan province years before they acknowledged it (Washington Post, 11/26). Wan's organization via e-mail issued a statement saying that Wan had "resumed work in normal manner" and that in his "future work ... will positively seek the support and understanding of the government and avoid unnecessary misunderstandings" (Ang, AP/China Post, 11/27). According to Reuters, no reason was stated for Wan's release or detention (Reuters, 11/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.