‘AIDS de­mo­li­tion team’ re­port sparks anger among Chi­nese In­ter­net users

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

A prop­erty de­vel­oper in China re­port­edly hired a group of peo­ple with HIV to ha­rass res­i­dents into leav­ing their homes, spark­ing anger from the coun­try’s In­ter­net users on Tues­day.

The case is the lat­est to high­light wide­spread dis­crim­i­na­tion in China against peo­ple liv­ing with HIV and AIDS.

It also un­der­scores the un­scrupu­lous lengths to which some real es­tate firms and of­fi­cials will go to evict res­i­dents in a coun­try where re­selling land can pro­vide big div­i­dends for lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

“The ob­scene tac­tics of de­mo­li­tion teams emerge in in­nu­mer­able suc­ces­sion,” one user of Sina Weibo, a Chi­nese ver­sion of Twit­ter, wrote Tues­day.

“The gov­ern­ment de­part­ments def­i­nitely knew about this, they’re just pre­tend­ing they didn’t,” wrote another.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port late Mon­day by state broad­caster China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion, a prop­erty de­vel­oper in the cen­tral Chi­nese city of Nanyang hired six peo­ple with HIV in an ef­fort to force lo­cal res­i­dents from a hous­ing com­pound set for de­mo­li­tion.

Li Ge­jun, deputy head of the pro­pa­ganda of­fice in Wo­long, a dis­trict of Nanyang, told CCTV that the Yi’an Real Es­tate Company hired the pa­tients “in or­der to achieve its goal of speedy de­mo­li­tion.”

Footage by the broad­caster showed the words “AIDS de­mo­li­tion team” spray-painted in red on many of the com­pound’s walls.

The team also set off fire­crack­ers, ha­rassed res­i­dents and shot their win­dows with sling­shots and ball bear­ings, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial Xin­hua news agency.

Four of­fi­cials have been rep­ri­manded and five sus­pects held in con­nec­tion with the case, Xin­hua re­ported, adding that the hous­ing com­pound had been “slated for de­mo­li­tion un­der a gov­ern­ment plan.”

Forced de­mo­li­tion is a peren­nial source of dis­con­tent in China, where lo­cal gov­ern­ments can of­ten earn enor­mous rev­enue by evict­ing peo­ple to clear land and then re­selling it to de­vel­op­ers.

The in­ci­dent took place in He­nan prov­ince, which in the 1990s was hit by a de­bil­i­tat­ing AIDS epi­demic that stemmed from a tainted gov­ern­ment­backed blood do­na­tion pro­gram and in­fected tens of thou­sands of peo­ple.

It comes on the heels of re­ports ear­lier this month that Chi­nese vil­lagers had tar­geted an eightyear- old HIV- pos­i­tive boy for ex­pul­sion, draw­ing wide­spread con­dem­na­tion.

Some 200 res­i­dents — in­clud­ing the child’s own grand­fa­ther — signed a pe­ti­tion to ex­pel the boy from their vil­lage in the south­west­ern prov­ince of Sichuan to “pro­tect vil­lagers’ health.”

Dis­crim­i­na­tion against those with HIV/AIDS re­mains an is­sue at schools, hos­pi­tals, work­places and other es­tab­lish­ments across China, a fac­tor that ex­perts say ham­pers ef­forts to di­ag­nose and treat it.

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