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致河南艾滋病村的死者与濒死者

AIDS-Afflicted Villagers Say Chinese Police Attack

CHRIS BUCKLEY

  BEIJING, July 7 ?Hundreds of policemen raided an AIDS-afflicted village in
  central China two weeks ago, rampaging through homes, beating residents and
  arresting 13 people, villagers said. The nighttime attack, which left more
  than a dozen injured, was apparently in retaliation for the villagers
  previous protests calling for better medical care, residents said in
  telephone interviews today.
  
  The raid was the largest such clash between officials and residents in rural
  Henan Province, where AIDS is claiming growing numbers of lives and medical
  care is minimal.
  
  Like many villages in Henan, Xiongqiao, where the raid took place on June
  22, is experiencing an AIDS epidemic caused by government-induced blood
  trading in the 1990s. Experts estimate that there may be as many as a
  million H.I.V.-positive people in Henan, nearly all of them infected when
  they sold their blood under poorly protected conditions. Despite government
  promises, few of the villagers have been given antiviral drugs or
  specialized care.
  
  About one-third of Xiongqiaos 600 or so residents are H.I.V.-positive;
  about 30 have died of AIDS, three residents of the village said in separate
  interviews. All feared reprisals if they gave their names.
  
  The night of the raid, they said, officers wielding truncheons roamed the
  village in groups, swinging at villagers heads and breaking television
  sets, dishes and lights. "They werent like officials," one man said, "They
  behaved like bandits, smashing and looting." He added that about a dozen
  villagers had been injured, and that at least three were still hospitalized.
  
  The villagers said they believed that the raid was in revenge for an earlier
  assault on local officials. On June 17 as many as 100 villagers went to the
  nearby Wulong Township government building to demand tax breaks and better
  treatment, including medicine coupons and the building of a health center,
  for which the central government had disbursed $6,000 a year ago.
  
  When they were refused, several dozen protesters wrecked cars and assailed
  officials, including a deputy township chief, a villager who attended the
  protest said.
  
  "Things got a bit out hand," he said. "But what else could we do? The money
  for the health clinic was issued a year ago, but wheres our clinic? Wheres
  our medicine?"
  
  The raid in Xiongqiao is the most recent in a series of confrontations
  between villagers and officials in the Shangcai district. In May the police
  in the nearby village of Wenlou detained villagers who wanted to present
  their grievances to visiting World Health Organization officials. Over the
  past year there have been other, smaller protests in villages in Shangcai
  and other Henan districts, often involving demands for medicine and relief
  from fees and taxes.
  
  Last month five Xiongqiao residents went to Henans capital, Zhengzhou, to
  petition officials for the clinic and medicine. They were arrested, and four
  are still in detention. One was released because his AIDS symptoms were so
  severe, villagers said.
  
  The Philadelphia-based AIDS Policy Project, which campaigns for greater
  access to AIDS treatment in developing countries, issued a call today for
  the release of the arrested villagers and also urged foreign companies to
  stop investing in Henan because of the provinces poor treatment of
  H.I.V.-positive people.
  
  The villagers of Xiongqiao said they had not previously been involved in
  violent confrontations. "Most of the time, were too tired to protest," one
  of the men interviewed said, "and now were scared that this isnt the end
  of it."
  
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