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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Human Rights Watch: Chinese Official Jailed for Distributing
Ted Anthony
October 7, 2003
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.