A newly implemented regulation requiring HIV test on Chinese citizens returning from overseas has received harsh criticism on the Internet, from people both in and outside China.
The new regulation, taking effect on December 1, requires Chinese citizens who have lived overseas for more than one year to receive HIV test upon their return to China, according to China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).
Many people left comments on the Internet accusing the regulation of “nationality discrimination,” and questioning why the regulation only requires Chinese citizens, but not all foreign visitors, to take the test when they enter the Chinese boarder.
In fact, the regulation does require foreigners to test for HIV, but only when they intend to “stay in China.” Some people interpret “stay” as long term, or over one year, present in China. The regulation does not say that Chinese citizens returning for a short visit could be spared from the test, nor does it require all foreign visitors to take the test upon entering China. Some people suspect that this is because the Chinese government is afraid of human rights complaints from foreigners. Others see the newly added procedure as one way for responsible Chinese government agencies to make more income, because apparently people need to pay over 100 yuan for the test, out of their own pockets.
A commentator in the US called the regulation a “stupid decision,” a point concurred by a few commentators in China. As they point out, foreign countries are no longer the main source for the spread of HIV in China, but China itself is the origination most of the time. “Please ask these legislator masters to visit the night club next to their office or to the hair salons, and see what is going on in there,” one comment reads.
Meanwhile, some people see it as unreasonable to set Chinese citizens living overseas for more than one year as the target, because Chinese people who settle and try to live a life in foreign countries are usually “conservative,” while some Chinese officials on short business trips overseas are more likely to get HIV because they “think about going to the red-light district as soon as they come over [to a foreign country].”
Those supporting the new regulation say it is a responsible way to protect public health in China, although such voices are quite weak comparing with the criticisms.
News on the official website of AQSIQ website
The regulation (in Chinese)