AIDS Patient Arrested while Appealing to Beijing

July 29, 2006 Updated: July 29, 2006

Li Xige , Coordinator of Kanglejia—a self-help organization for HIV/AIDS victims—went to the Beijing Municipal Health Bureau appeal on July 18, but was arrested by police on July 20 on charge of “assembling crowds to attack state institutions.” Chinese civil organizations and various overseas media are paying close attention to this case.

On July 26, through NGOs, The Joint United Nations Program on AIDS/HIV (UNAIDS) expressed sympathy to Li's relatives and concern about related situations in medicine.

According to the Beijing AIDS Research Institute's most recently released information, two Beijing lawyers have already arrived to begin their investigation into Li's case.

Li Xige (R) with a UNAIDS coordinator stationed in China, late May, 2006 (Hu Jia)
Li Xige (R) with a UNAIDS coordinator stationed in China, late May, 2006 (Hu Jia)

Infected in a Hospital

Li Xige, 39 years old, is an employee of the Ningling County Post Office. During the birth of her elder daughter on June 23, 1995, Ningling County Maternal and Child Health Care Station violated safety procedures and gave Li a transfusion of HIV-positive blood. Three out of four people in her family were subsequently infected with AIDS.

Sun Yingchen, Li Xige's elder daughter, passed away in August 2004 from AIDS transmitted to her by her mother. Soon after, Li and her younger daughter also tested positive for the HIV virus. Li's younger daughter was prohibited from attending local kindergartens.

In September 2004, Li Xige sued Ningling County Maternal and Child Health Care Station and the county Health Bureau. Her case was never filed because “higher level authorities have verbal orders stating that AIDS infections as a result of blood transfusions cannot be recorded.” During these years, Li and her husband appealed their situation to the local Health Bureau and county government, but have received no replies.

With the assistance of AIDS civil rights activists, Li Xige began to seek justice for her family and for other innocent people. She established a self-help organization for victims of HIV/AIDS, Kanglejia, and investigated situations in different villages. According to data provided by Li, there were 40 patients infected with HIV through blood transfusion, 10 children infected by their mothers, and 14 males infected through sexual relations with women who were infected by blood transfusions.

Li Xige's husband and daughter at appealing at the Division of Complaints, July 27. (Hu Jia)
Li Xige's husband and daughter at appealing at the Division of Complaints, July 27. (Hu Jia)

Seeking Help in Beijing

On the morning of July 18, Li led seven infected females and her five-year old daughter to the Beijing Municipal Bureau Health and requested related departments to give compensation for these AID victims.

On the evening of July 18, officials sent them back to Ningling County and detained them at the Public Security Bureau. On July 20, the police detained Li and two other appellants on charges of “assembling crowds to attack state institutions,” while the others were monitored in their homes. Li and the two others are still currently detained at the Ningling detention center.

Li Xige's husband Sun Jianfeng and five-year-old daughter Sun Weilin rushed to Beijing to seek help on July 23.

Beijing AIDS Research Institute released a declaration on July 21, supporting HIV-positive people's peaceful action in expressing their wills and condemning the Health Bureau for forcefully arresting people. It calls on the Ningling County Public Security Bureau to release Li Xige immediately.

On July 24, Beijing Aiyuan Information Consulting Center called for all AIDS workers, related AIDS organizations and people from all circles of society to pay attention to this issue.