Xinhua News Agency (07.28.12)
Aids Weekly Plus
Hundreds of people with hepatitis B gathered in downtown Chengdu in Sichuan province on Saturday, World Hepatitis Day, to raise awareness of the disease. Covering their eyes, ears, and mouths to symbolize “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,” they sought to gain support for equal rights through performance art.
"Although the number of hep B carriers is huge in China, people are reluctant to accept them,” said organizer Cheng Zhuo.
Data from China’s Ministry of Health show around 93 million Chinese are infected with hepatitis B virus. Job seekers in the country have long complained of discrimination based on their HBV-positive status.
During the last decade, however, the government made strides in addressing the problem. In 2005, it issued a health standard that those with HBV are eligible for the civil service. And in 2010, the ministries of health, education and human resources, and social security banned universities and businesses from screening for HBV during their recruitment processes.
“As an HR manager, I know companies’ prejudice against hepatitis B carriers remains serious,” said Feng Bofeng. “I want to challenge this phenomenon.”
Lei Chuang, a post-graduate student at Zhejiang University, used social media to initiate the “hep B carriers treat you to dinner” campaign, which won support from HBV patients in 12 cities. “We want to let more people understand hep B and eliminate social discrimination against us,” Lei said. “Our focus is not the dinner itself. We are calling for a scientific spirit and equal rights.”