Dr. Wan is the founder of one of China's most active AIDS organizations and is a well known AIDS educator and defender of the human rights of AIDS-affected people in China. He was detained in Beijing on August 24.
"The chilling effect of Wan Yanhai’s detention is still in the air," said Joanne Csete, director of the HIV/AIDS Program at Human Rights Watch. "The Chinese government could go a long way in showing its seriousness about the AIDS epidemic by allowing Wan Yanhai and other grassroots activists to resume their AIDS education activities with a free hand."
Wan Yanhai is the recipient of the Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, which was given to his wife, Su Zhaosheng, by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights Watch on September 13 in Wan's absence.
Dr. Wan's achievements included the establishment of the first HIV/AIDS telephone hotline in China and the first web site where Chinese people can obtain comprehensive information on HIV/AIDS as well as action on behalf of persons at high risk of HIV transmission.