Reply to "AIDS turns 20"

September 12, 2002


China's #1 AIDS Activist Detained by Chinese Police

(New York) ACT UP New York and Human

Rights in China, in an unprecedented coalition, are co-sponsoring a peaceful picket at the Chinese Consulate in New York to call for the release of Wan Yanhai, China's foremost AIDS activist who was detained by police in Beijing
August 24. US and Chinese activists will speak about Dr. Wan's AIDS work; they will also fly banners and carry picket signs with large photos of Dr. Wan.


on September 13, Dr. Wan Yanhai would have been received in person an award honoring his work on HIV/AIDS and human rights from Human Rights Watch and the

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. Police in China cited "revealing state secrets" as the reason for his detainment. This summer Wan circulated via email a government report by health officials on the blood collection practices and the link to the incredibly high rate of infection in the Henan province.

Says ACT UP's Laurie Wen:

Dr. Wan is one of the most knowledgeable men in the world about AIDS and the Chinese people. He's got to be released"”he needs to keep working." The United Nations estimates that at the current infection rate, China will have 10 million citizens with HIV/AIDS by 2010.


Eustacia Smith of the Health GAP:

Dr. Wan is trying to help China avert a disaster with AIDS. He deserves to be honored"”not thrown in jail."

"Dr. Wan Yanhai is an expert and a hero in addressing and exposing China's coming AIDS epidemic. We demand his unconditional release and urge the Chinese government to allow him to continue his invaluable work in his own country." Xiao Qiang, Executive Director, Human Rights in China.

Dr. Wan, 38, is a physician and recent Fulbright grant recipient operates a web site which is one of the only independent sources of AIDS information for China.

Through it, he helped expose blood selling businesses in the Henan provincet that lead to the HIV infection of as many as 1 million poor farmers. He founded the first telephone hotline for people with AIDS in China and has organized AIDS support groups. China is currently awaiting word on a multimillion-dollar grant from the United Nations Global Fund for AIDS, a request rumored at $90 million. In addition, Chinese President Jiang Zemin is slated to visit
President Bush in late October. Activists are calling on President George Bush to do everything in his power to help free Dr. Wan. "When the Chinese President comes to Crawford for his coveted ranch date with Bush, the President should
put the detention of Dr. Wan at the top of the agenda," said Mark Milano of ACT UP New York.

Contact: Sharonann Lynch:

Laurie Wen: