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China Censors HIV/AIDS Awareness Documentary 120

Posted by Soulskill
from the learn-it-the-hard-way dept.
eldavojohn writes "Amnesty International is reporting an unusual case of censorship in which Chinese police questioned HIV/AIDS workers in China and instructed them to cancel an airing of a documentary made by Aizhixing Institute of Health Education on the disease. The director of that NGO recently left China after constant police harassment. The canceled documentary was about Tian Xi, a patient who contracted HIV by blood transfusion at age 9."
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China Censors HIV/AIDS Awareness Documentary

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  • Fuck China (Score:3, Insightful)

    by XPeter (1429763) on Saturday July 10, 2010 @10:48AM (#32860106) Homepage

    Mod me flamebait or troll, but to hell with any country in the world that deems it proper to censor their people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jerrei (1515395)
      I'm sure what you meant to say was "to hell with any country that is open about censorship, and doesn't hide behind the media and state secrets".
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I'm sure what you meant to say was "to hell with any country that is open about censorship, and doesn't hide behind the media and state secrets".

        The degree of open censorship within a country is proportional to the number of bullets that country is willing to use to enforce its censorship. So its not really a positive that they don't bother to hide it.

        • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

          by mrmeval (662166)

          US citizens bought enough guns in three months to supply every soldier in China and India with a rifle and enough ammunition in one month to have them shoot that rifle around 450 times.

          • by mysidia (191772)

            And the US government bought enough big guns and heavy artillery to make sure they could quell any insurrection by US citizens wielding said guns 100x over.

            What could in theory cause such an insurrection? Dissatisfaction with US government policies, and lack of adequate representation of workers and small business, while adopting adverse pro-government, pro-corporation, pro-union socialist-fascist policies, and intentionally taking no action against crisis situations such as BP oil spell, in attempt to

            • by mrmeval (662166)

              Slow inexorable change in how government treats it citizens with not a lot of pain or suffering on the part of the citizens just discomfort. It's been happening for a long time. It really does not matter who is in charge as it is a natural function of government to acquire power. We may be past the point where citizens can make any sort of effective reduction in that power. I do not know how long it will take but I will most likely be to old or already dead when it happens.

      • Re:Fuck China (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Aboroth (1841308) on Saturday July 10, 2010 @11:52AM (#32860398)
        Oh please. Your implication is surely that there is some country such as, I don't know, the USA that is just as China bad but hides it, somehow making China more admirable. That is such a ridiculous assertion that my head just exploded. I'm sure the people living in China know all about this recent activity and are testament to the fact that... oh wait, no they don't, they have no idea what is going on, and there is no legal avenue to find out.
        • Oh please. Your implication is surely that there is some country such as, I don't know, the USA that is just as China bad but hides it, somehow making China more admirable.

          Indeed, the fact that what censorship there is in the US might be disguised or hidden is itself a sign of freedom. Otherwise the boot would come down just as it does in China. "At least they are honest about it" only means that they are more willing to use force to suppress dissent, and don't fear dissent since they can imprison or kill dissenters. Don't like it? They'll imprison or kill you too.

          • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Using force to support censorship *IS* more admirable than using due process of law.

            Let me make this clear. Censorship is always, unconditionally, evil. No exceptions. Now--this is a philosophical axiom I hold. You can try to find exceptions--but for me, it is a core premise. You cannot censor evil without doing greater harm. Given censorship is unconditionally evil, then I would *rather* have the evil done by violence and force than through some orderly systematic process. People at least recognize

            • by equex (747231)
              And then mod _this_ parent up. Sir, you just poked a hole in the Matrix using about 1650 letters. I saw them as green semi-japanese nuggets of wisdom raining vertically down my monitor.
              • Your matrix must be different from mine so. Among the flapping holes in his argument, a) some censorship is probably acceptable when the communication itself becomes an act of violence (cf child pornography, snuff movies), b) inability to understand that "orderly systematic process" and violence are the same thing in places like China, and there is a substantial difference between that and law and order, and c) tha gaping self contradictions in the post, for example, "That's right--you can't challenge censo
        • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

          by noidentity (188756)
          You're right; here in the USA, we know about all censorship that occurs. Of course, we have lots of crazy conspiracy-types who make lots of silly claims, but we know not to listen to them since they're crazy, duh.
        • by Jerrei (1515395)
          "no they don't, they have no idea what is going on, and there is no legal avenue to find out."

          What happened to Kennedy? and what "legal avenue" would you use to find out? The western world might be the lesser of two evils, but it's still that. You are implying it isn't as much as I was implying that China was somehow more admirable.
        • by the way (22503)

          I'm sure the people living in China know all about this recent activity and are testament to the fact that... oh wait, no they don't, they have no idea what is going on, and there is no legal avenue to find out.

          Why would they have no idea what's going on? They can read Slashdot just like you can, and therefore can find out about this from the same source as you have. There are also an enormous number of Chinese-language blogs with similar content.

          China's firewall is, in practice (in my experience) fairly li

          • The average Chinese young person has never heard of Tiananmen Square (or at least, they've never heard of the protests). Personally, I have a problem with that.

      • by mysidia (191772)

        China is not the least bit open about their censorship.

        There are just some things they censor that they don't mind the public finding out that they censor.

        Obviously they don't mind the public knowing they have some censorship programs.

        They also have little control of foreign nationals such as the director of that NGO reporting the fact they censored it, without creating a diplomatic incident.

        Buth there ARE things China censors and doesn't want the public to know that they've censored anything, the

    • by sznupi (719324)

      So...to hell with probably all of them? (at the least pretty much all "notable" ones)

    • "Mod me flamebait or troll, but to hell with any country in the world that deems it proper to censor their people."

      I am currently in correspondence with a person who posted a documentary on You Tube about Bergen-Belsen concentration camp [wikipedia.org], and that video has been removed for TOS violation.

      While Google, of course, is not the US government, they will be staying within bounds influenced by the Administration.

      While it is easy to stand of a soap box and say "Fuck China" for its censorship, it is not so easy
    • by Meski (774546) *
      I'm trying to think of one that doesn't.
  • Such foul language.
  • Health or Politics? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Saturday July 10, 2010 @10:51AM (#32860136)
    I would think the government would agree to distributing information purely about health issues. I wonder about the tone of the film. Is it wrapped up in criticism of the government? AI's site, of course, portrays it as totally innocent. I clicked on "Watch Documentary" but it stalled out.
    • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday July 10, 2010 @11:01AM (#32860182)
      Probably the fact that it makes the Chinese government look like inept morons. A lot of the disease transmission was due to incompetence by their health authorities in terms of blood transfusion techniques.
      • by naz404 (1282810)
        Kevin Peter Hall [imdb.com], the original actor in the Predator suit in Predator 1 and Predator 2 died that way, AIDS via incompetent blood transfusion after a car crash. He was in Misfits of Science [imdb.com] too. Such a loss :(
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Marcika (1003625)

          Kevin Peter Hall [imdb.com], the original actor in the Predator suit in Predator 1 and Predator 2 died that way, AIDS via incompetent blood transfusion after a car crash. He was in Misfits of Science [imdb.com] too. Such a loss :(

          More importantly, Isaac Asimov [wikipedia.org] died that way as well -- and the doctors cajoled his family into hushing it up for decade (until the doctors were dead as well).

      • Also China's government still has a real problem, that many totalitarian type governments do, of thinking that their wishes make reality. They are used to in normal life saying "This will happen!" and it does. Their word is law and all that jazz.

        So what you get because of that is an attitude of "If we don't pay attention to it, it isn't real." This happened with SARS. China didn't want it to be a problem, so the government basically ignored it and suppressed information on it. However, it eventually grew to

        • by timeOday (582209)

          Not only do they not want state hospitals to look inept, but they don't want to admit there's a problem they can't solve... they don't want AIDS to be a problem in China, so they are just denying it.

          Quoting Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]: Early efforts to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic emphasized enforcement of laws against high-risk behavior, but later lessons from effective interventions in pilot programs and in other countries (e.g. needle exchange programs in Australia and condom campaigns for sex workers in Thailand) have

      • by 1u3hr (530656)
        Probably the fact that it makes the Chinese government look like inept morons. A lot of the disease transmission was due to incompetence by their health authorities in terms of blood transfusion techniques.

        As it was in every other country. Including the USA. I remember Isaac Asimov, for one, was infected via a transfusion and died of AIDS. Of course, China should have learnt from the USA, but they were sure that it was just a disease of foreigners (as Americans used to think it was only gays and Haitians)

    • by Jedi Alec (258881)

      I would think the government would agree to distributing information purely about health issues.

      Indeed. Only a total idiot would think it's a good idea to deliberately withhold information about health issues for political reasons. Speaking of which, how's that whole "abstinence only" thing working out?

      • by Entropius (188861)

        The abstinence-only people deserve to rot in a hell of their own creation just like the Chinese censors.

        Just because one thing is bad doesn't make another bad thing less bad.

        • by elrous0 (869638) *
          Nonsense, abstinence-only education is a great way to keep your teenage kids from having sex. Just ask Sarah Palin.
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      In France, like 20 years ago, a big scandal erupted because of this kind of issue : contaminated blood was being used in transfusion with the knowledge of a lot of people. They tried to shut down leaks but in the end, many people had to resign on some had to go to jail.
    • by unixan (800014)

      And sometimes, it's about Politics in Health.

      China isn't the first nation to grapple with HIV in blood transfusions. The United States' blood transfusion industry lobbied in the 1980s to suppress the issue over concerns about their reputation and revenue, and succeeded to some degree.

      In this case, China's communist government is probably being lobbied, too -- and as an easily corrupted system with great powers, we see instances like this.

      Fortunately, there are also top-level politicians trying to turn it i [chinacsr.com]

    • by sjames (1099)

      Since the glorious healthcare they provide is incapable of making mistakes (by virtue of it's incredible superiority), claiming someone got AIDS from a transfusion borders on blasphemy

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      There was a scandal with tainted blood donors that spread AIDS to people who had blood transfusions that the local government knew about and tried to cover up.

      http://www.asiahealthcareblog.com/2010/04/27/blood-money-why-blood-transfusions-are-so-dirty-in-china/ [asiahealthcareblog.com]
  • unusual? (Score:5, Informative)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Saturday July 10, 2010 @01:15PM (#32860840)
    "Amnesty International is reporting an unusual case of censorship"

    TFA doesn't use the word "unusual". And censorship like this isn't at all unusual. Aids activists have been censored, threatened and killed in many countries, not just China.

  • wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Entropy997 (1694668)
    Those frikkin' Chinese will censor ANYTHING that makes them look bad. Our blood banks were tainted until what, the late 80's? We at least can talk about it.
  • ...the powers that be are trying to cover up corruption?

    I can imagine that the communist overlords wouldn't want their state run hospital implicated in anything naughty.

  • Oh this is like the last time they tried to censor information about Avian Fl*COUGH*COUGH*burp*hack*COUGH*cough... :-(~~~~~~~

  • I'm surprised that China doesn't go with a more aggressive stance towards the problem of HIV/AIDS. (Keep in mind this was suggested to me by my great-uncle as he was dying of AIDS in the early 90's:) After having a positive test and confirming with a second more controlled test for HIV/AIDS, have the person immediately euthanized. And before any of you try the cop out of "My relation/friend had AIDS I don't want them killed," keep in mind had we done that 25 or 30 years ago it would have saved MILLIONS of l
    • by kanto (1851816)
      Yeah, let's create a situation where getting caught with a disease means instant death; then we'll really be on top of things.
      • by daeglo (1822126)
        See my justification/reply here [slashdot.org].
        • by kanto (1851816)

          You assume that people would be lining up for the suicide booth even if AIDS did mean a death penalty back then. I did not approach my flippant answer from the moral point of view, you only have to take into account self preservation. This would end up hiding the problem and thus making it worse whereas nowadays a concerted no bs effort could meet your objectives.

          Besides, your solution would need to get approved worldwide and I don't see that happening; not to mention that Greenpeace would probably tear you

          • by daeglo (1822126)
            I never said it would have had to have been on a voluntary basis. If you check the references I noted, you will see that in the early 80's the problem was by-and-large an American problem. I'm sure the rest of the world can thank us for handling the issue in a 'moral' way.
            • by kanto (1851816)

              However you decide to kill people they will object thus doing everything in their power to be outside this compassionate response. Essentially in this case the suicide booth would be a doctors reception, prison or whichever place the establishment would get a chance to sample your blood.

              I guess you won't be dissuaded by how much worse the world* would be if we even had a chance to put something like this solution into motion. So I'll just say that, just from the human point of view, it really bums me out.

              (*

    • by Macrat (638047)
      In the US, life is considered so "precious" that we mandate everyone live in agony for as long as possible no matter the condition.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Urkki (668283)

        In the US, life is considered so "precious" that we mandate everyone live in agony for as long as possible no matter the condition.

        I thought that the public health care in US is in such a state, that this doesn't happen? Who is mandated to pay for this kind of extended care?

        Hmm, or was it so that there's this class of people who are considered too rich to have free health care, but too poor to insure themselves or pay for it themselves? So is it like, if you're poor enough, government will keep you alive as long as you live, and if you're rich enough, your insurance or your family will keep you alive. But if you're in the between, then

        • by daeglo (1822126)
          I can't respond as far as upper class goes, however when I had Hodgkin's lymphoma as a lower class child the government covered nearly every dime of treatment. When I move out on my own and became lower-middle class, simply having an abscessed tooth cost me about 2 months of my gross pay. Getting injured and taking an ambulance ride cost me about 7 months gross pay.

          Given those experiences, I would be inclined to agree with each or your posits.

        • by Macrat (638047)

          I thought that the public health care in US is in such a state, that this doesn't happen? Who is mandated to pay for this kind of extended care?

          The hospital bills the family. Which they can't pay. The hospital puts a lien on all their assets. Basically ruins their life.

    • by Cytotoxic (245301)

      Yeah, why would a country that has rigid and draconian population controls (one child) in place avoid taking an aggressive stance against a deadly communicable disease? It is almost as if losing MILLIONS of lives is of no consequence to them!

    • by Urkki (668283)

      I'm surprised that China doesn't go with a more aggressive stance towards the problem of HIV/AIDS. (Keep in mind this was suggested to me by my great-uncle as he was dying of AIDS in the early 90's:) After having a positive test and confirming with a second more controlled test for HIV/AIDS, have the person immediately euthanized. And before any of you try the cop out of "My relation/friend had AIDS I don't want them killed," keep in mind had we done that 25 or 30 years ago it would have saved MILLIONS of lives since. The deaths from AIDS in it's entire history would have been in the hundred thousands. My uncle would gladly have been euthanized after being diagnosed had the law allowed it.

      Eh, you're suggesting compulsory HIV tests, and anybody with positive results would be immediately arrested, and if followup test showed positive result (or perhaps, in especially in a country like China, somebody in power decided that this person clearly has HIV because of his political activities...), then *BANG*?

      And you're from China...? If a lot of people think that it's ok for government to wield that kind of power, no wonder things are as they are over there... Well, I guess it's a cultural thing. I

      • by daeglo (1822126)
        No, I am not from china. I am from the "good ol'" USA. And yes, the only actual "cure" for any virus to date has been a high velocity lead injection or a super sized dose of truth serum (sodium pentathol). Even the common cold (rhinovirus) simply has to run its course. Compulsory testing and removing the virus from the population would be the only solution, draconian or not. Should all virii such as rhinovirus have such measures, not in my opinion. Should virii which have the possibility of pandemic? Only i
    • by aamcf (651492)

      Are you sure we would have saved millions of lives? Killing everyone who is HIV positive would not have stopped the pandemic, and may even have made it worse.

      Today, HIV testing is routine and has very little stigma. If you have an HIV test, and it is positive, then you can take steps to minimise your chances of infecting other people, and you can manage the illness (at least to some degree). There is clear incentive to get tested, and so people do it. Stigma-fee HIV testing means the spread of the virus can

      • by daeglo (1822126)

        By the end of 1985, 20,303 cases of AIDS had been reported to the World Health Organisation.In the USA 15,948 cases of AIDS had been reported, and in the UK 275 cases. -- http://www.avert.org/aids-history-86.htm

        In 1985 there was a reliable test for AIDS and 36,526 known cases [avert.org] worldwide. I stand by my original numbers of there being in the 100s of thousands of cases or less at the time.

        Given that there are an estimated 33.4 million [thebody.com] people currently living with HIV/AIDS in the world and millions of people dyeing each year [cia.gov]. I also stand by my numbers of millions of lives saved. Could all HIV/AIDS infected people now be removed from population to limit the continuance of this virus? Not likely IMO, I feel it would ce

        • by aamcf (651492)

          How do you guarantee that your method would mean fewer HIV positive people now? HIV testing saves lives, not least because people who know they are HIV positive are less likely to infect other people ( at least most of the time [wikipedia.org]).

          With no HIV testing, the virus continues to spread unchecked.

          With high-stigma HIV testing, testing rates are low, and the virus continues to spread almost as if there was no testing.

          With stigma-free HIV testing, people with the virus can be identified and modify their lives to reduce

          • by daeglo (1822126)
            Please explain to me the number of people who knowingly fraternize when knowingly infected with lesser STDs and where the difference lies. People in general are self centered, arrogant low-lifes.
            • by aamcf (651492)

              There is a big difference between passing on something that can be cured with one dose of antibiotics, and something that will kill you. One is a nasty thing to do, the other is borderline murder. But I'd like to know what statistics you are using. How many people continue to have risky sex when they know they are infected with "lesser STDs"?

              For your original suggestion to be valid, you will have to show that HIV detection rates would not have been adversely affected by your draconian solution. You still ha

              • by daeglo (1822126)
                I'm not aware of any usable statistics regarding careless sex, my experiences are purely anecdotal amongst associates who are sexually active. To me it would appear nearly 1.5% of average people will continue to be sexually active after they have been diagnosed and before being treated. For a certain group who call themselves 'Jugalos' it would seem nearly 87% just don't care. All of this is strictly on background, so I cannot prove any of it to you. If you are aware of any peer reviewed studies on this sub
                • by aamcf (651492)

                  So you have no statistics or projections to back up your original proposal?

    • by RockDoctor (15477)

      My uncle would gladly have been euthanized after being diagnosed had the law allowed it.

      I take this as indicating that your uncle thought that he would have so little control over his personal actions that he would be personally responsible for infecting a significant number of other people with the pathogen in the time between his postulated execution and the estimated date of his incapacity.
      By the early '90s (your story), it was very well known that the HIV pathogen is moderately hard to pass from one per

      • by daeglo (1822126)

        My uncle contracted HIV in the mid 80's from a blood transfusion. He was dyeing of AIDS in the early 90's. It's downright scary to me that you consider it "moderately hard to pass from one person to another." His fear was that if he were involved in an accident, his blood could infect another person in the act of trying to save HIS life.

        As far as your rant as to the personal thoughts and actions of a person whom you never knew about until quite recently, perhaps such descriptions as psychopathic and narciss

        • by RockDoctor (15477)

          And the documented number of people accidentally infected by blood splatter from a haemophiliac is ? Millions?

          Bullshit I called and still call.

  • Whatever the merits of the documentary, the name of the organization Aizhixing is extremely sly. It literally means Love, Knowledge, Action; it rhymes with Aizibing, which means AIDS. This reminds me of the wordplay in the Grass Mud Horse [wikipedia.org] episode.

  • Back in 2001/2 I was working in Yunnan province in SW China. At that time the official stance by the government was that there was AIDS only in Ruili country, Yunnan: nowhere else in China. I was doing some part time stuff for Save the Children UK with their AIDS project in Ruili. They were there because they knew (we all knew) that AIDS was all over China and we were allowed to run this "pilot" program that helped the people in that county (one of the poorest in China, on the border with Burma, with a very

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