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2012年1月 6日 (金)

@BEIJING: Tragedy in China's 'AIDS villages' continues

北京で中国人HIV患者たちの置かれている実態を秘密裏に(?)取材した朝日新聞の力作。
この記者は朝日新聞の北京駐在員みたいですが、多分、事前に中国当局の許可をとっての取材ではないかと思います。いきなりこの記事を掲載したら中国を追放されるかも知れないからです。
英文はスラチャイと同じ中学生レベルで大変読みやすいです。
内容がしっかりとしているので、それは十分にカバーされているのです。
新聞記事の命はそのコンテンツ(内容)ですからね。
(スラチャイ)

January 05, 2012
KOICHI FURUYA/ Chinese General Bureau Correspondent: Tragedy in China's 'AIDS villages' continues

@BEIJING

I wonder how many people have heard of China's "AIDS villages"?

I don't think there are many who have.

They date to the 1990s when many people became infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) due to the selling of blood and blood transfusions in poor villages in Henan and other provinces.

The number of HIV-infected people increased further, partly because the government and local authorities tried to hide the facts. This led to some communities seeing half their population contract HIV, turning the issue into a serious social problem.

I remember that U.S. and European correspondents were actively covering the outbreak, infuriated with the patients' unreasonable treatment by the government around 2000, when I was a correspondent in Beijing.

One such journalist, a New York Times correspondent at the time, had a medical license. She was enthusiastically covering the outbreak, using her expertise. She once said that studying medicine was worthwhile, for she was able to produce articles related to the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

I was sent back to Japan without having an opportunity to cover the issue in depth.

Many excellent reports and documentary films have been produced on the subject since then, drawing the world's attention. It was reported that the Chinese government finally started working hard to tackle the problem.

When I was reassigned to the Beijing bureau in 2009, I wanted to learn about the situation of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Finding out that authorities related to the problem and supporters were to hold a conference in Beijing, I headed for the venue.

Due to the still sensitive nature of the issue, my request to cover the conference was turned down, with an organizing member saying, "Reporters are not allowed in."

I had no choice but to find a hotel where conference participants with HIV/AIDS were staying.

About 30 people with HIV, from Henan and Hubei provinces, were staying at a hotel I tracked down.

"I am a Japanese reporter. I want to hear your stories," I said, introducing myself.

More than 10 people accepted my request and gathered in a small room and sat on twin beds.

They were quiet in the beginning, looking at each other hesitantly, but started talking altogether all at once as if yelling.

"It is fine with me, but what will happen to my children in the future?" asked a 46-year-old woman who was infected through her husband, who had been infected with HIV due to a blood transfusion. "I get stressed when I think about this."

The woman and her husband are farmers and have two daughters and a son, she said.

The family was ostracized by other villagers who had strong prejudice against those with AIDS.

Their son, 7, has been ignored not only by his classmates but also by his teacher.

No classmate approaches him.

"My son does not tell me anything," she said. "All I can say to him is, 'Your father got infected (with HIV) due to a bad transfusion.' "

The government not only failed to take any effective measures to prevent infection but has not admitted its responsibility for spreading damage by hiding the truth.

Certain measures have been taken, yet it is far from sufficient.

A man in his 40s from Henan province was angry.

"The court refuses to accept our lawsuit against the government. Isn't it strange?" he asked. "China is a law-governed state, isn't it?"

His wife and son were infected with AIDS, the man said.

With their medical insurance having an annual ceiling, the family is forced to borrow several times more than what they earn each year.

They have strongly demanded government compensation, without success.

"We do not have time since we do not know when we will develop the disease," the man said.

In 2005, Premier Wen Jiabao visited Henan province and met with people infected with HIV and AIDS, in an effort to show that the government cared about the problem.

However, two women in the hotel room angrily recalled the event.

"I went to see the premier, learning that he would come all the way, hoping he would listen to us," one woman said. "But the police suddenly grabbed my hair and beat me to the ground."

All 11 HIV-positive patients who had been waiting for Wen along the road were taken away before he arrived, the women said. One woman patient ended up being detained for about a month.

Some foreign media reported that Wen's visit was stage-managed by local government officials who met the premier, disguising themselves as HIV patients.

Even though there was a time when HIV-infected people had been united in seeking a class action lawsuit, they were completely repressed by the authorities who feared that people would organize and become insurgents.

One of my acquaintances, a lawyer who was pursuing the problem, was deprived of his status by the authorities.

The government's pressure on people with HIV and AIDS is considerable.

Only a few of the people I met on that day agreed to have their names and faces appear in my article; many others agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity.

Many people have fought to bring the issue out in the open, including foreigners and the Chinese.

More than a few international human rights groups supported the effort.

Still, many people infected with HIV and AIDS remain without assistance or support.

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