Thursday, November 30, 2006

Survey: Chinese People’s Attitudes toward AIDS Mixed

In some places, knowledge about preventing HIV is printed on poker cards for public education

Most Chinese people in a survey showed tendency to avoid contact with HIV affected people, although they supported equal rights for this group.

Over sixty percent respondents agreed that HIV affected people should have the same rights as other people to work and receive education. About sixty percent, however, responded that they would not be willing to continue to work with people tested HIV positive, according to the survey, conducted by before the Dec. 1 World AIDS Day.

For a multi-choice question about whether people would tell others if they themselves were found to have AIDS, more than 80 percent responses went to informing parents, lovers, good friends and people they had “intimate contact” with. There are also 40 percent responses going with not telling anybody.

What would people do if they knew their neighbors were affected? Forty-seven percent of the respondents said they would try to avoid contact with the affected person, 10 percent said they would move, and three percent would visit the affected person at home. There are also 41 percent choosing to continue to live like usual.

By October, there have been more than 180,000 AIDS cases reported to Chinese authorities over the years. Among the cases reported during the first 10 months of this year, 37 and 28 percent were affected through drug and sexual activities, respectively, Xinhua reported. Chinese officials say there are still dangerous factors to cause further spread of AIDS in the country.

----by Josie Liu

Friday, November 10, 2006

Protesters Clash with Police over Land Disputes

Villagers in Sanzhou, Guangdong, confronted police

More than 10,000 people clashed with riot police in the village of Sanzhou, Guangdong, on Friday, during a protest over land dispute. NBC news aired footage of the clash on Friday morning, showing police using tear gas to disperse the crowds in a chaotic scene. This was one of the biggest clashes between protesters and the police since the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident, NBC said.

Villagers in Sanzhou have been protesting against illegal seizure of their land by local officials and corruption for months and on Wednesday, they detained a few foreigners and government officials in a warehouse which they said was built upon such disputable land. The officials and guests from Hong Kong, Germany, Thailand and Britain were in there for the facility’s inauguration ceremony. The officials and guests have been let out by Friday, the South China Morning Post reported.

Land disputes have been one of the major causes for uprisings in China, especially in rural area, in recent years. In most of the cases, villagers protested local officials' grab of farmland and selling it to real estate developers. Local governments could gain tremendous profits by selling the land while villagers sometimes receiving little compensation or nothing at all. Such land deals are also plagued with alleged corruptions and foul plays, such as bribery between real estate developers and government officials and selling farmland that are supposed to be preserved as farmland.

The central government has warned local officials against illegal land seizure, but the rapacious land demand for real estate developments and limited supply, in addition to huge profits, could almost annul the warnings.

----by Josie Liu

Friday, November 03, 2006

Manager Committed Suicide after Sacked for Medicine Incident

Top: A victim of Xinfu injecta

Bottom: Mr. Qiu Zuyi

Mr. Qiu Zuyi, former manager of a state-owned medicine company, was found dead at his home in Fuyang, Anhui, on November 1. He apparently killed himself, according to Chinese media.

Beijing’s Mirror newspaper said he lived alone in Fuyang, while his wife and son lived in Shanghai. He also left a note with words like “very, very sad,” “no way to let out the pressure,” and “can only die to apologize,” according to Guangzhou-based 21st Century Economy.

The fatal nightmare of Mr. Qiu and his company, Anhui Huayuan Medicine Company, started on August 3, when China’s health ministry issued an emergent notice to all health providers across China, requesting immediate suspension of the use of Xinfu glucose injecta manufactured by the company. The injection fluid was reported to have caused at least dozens of deaths, and other harmful symptom such as sallergic shock, liver and kidney damage, and palpitation.

More than 2.7 million bottles of Xinfu liquid were soon recalled. In mid-October, China’s food and medicine administration announced that the problematic injecta was not sterilized to standard level. During its production process, the factory lowered the sterilization temperature, shortened the time, and overloaded the disinfection container, and therefore impaired the effect of the sterilization. Mr. Qiu was since removed from his post.

Meanwhile, more and more victims and their families around the country started to ask the company for compensation, and family member of some diseased victims came and burn funeral wretch inside the factory.

Ironically, on Friday, the company’s website still boasts its strong emphasis on product quality.

Mr. Qiu used to be seen as the hero of revitalizing a moribund state-owned factory. He applied and was chosen to be the manager in 2000 and had since turned the dying company into profit, and provided job to nearly 2000 people. The factory has resumed its production.

Fake and poor-quality medicine has been a huge problem in China in recent years as some manufactures pursuit profits over quality. The government has become more responsive to such cases, because some of the poor quality medicines kill people and the public is likely to be agitated if they don’t think their call for justice is sufficiently answered.

The dealing with the Xinfu incident appeared to be fairly prompt. Not only executives in the factory, but also local government officials overseeing medicine manufacture received punishment ranging from removal to disciplinary sanctions. The death of the former manager, however, may not put an end to people’s furies and compensation battles.

----by Josie Liu