Associated Press (10.06.03) - Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Human Rights Watch is demanding that China release Ma Shiwen,
a health official reportedly convicted of circulating a
restricted government report on the blood selling practices
that spread AIDS in China's Henan province. The report blamed
national authorities for the scandal, which involved dealers
in the 1990s buying blood from villagers and pooling it,
mixing HIV-infected blood with healthy blood. The dealers
extracted plasma, then re- injected the rest of the blood back
into those who sold it.
"The Chinese government is targeting honest health officials,
but it has done little to address the humanitarian catastrophe
in Henan," said Brad Adams, executive director of the Asia
Division of the New York-based rights group. Human Rights
Watch said Ma should not be punished for allegedly circulating
the report to AIDS activists.
Last year, Chinese AIDS activist Wan Yanhai was freed after
being held for almost a month by authorities who said he had
leaked official secrets by distributing the same report.
According to Human Rights Watch, Ma was arrested in August and
charged with circulating state secrets by using his computer
to distribute the report. Earlier this year, he had been
arrested on the same charges and released. The Chinese
government has not announced Ma's arrest.