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Under pressure from Human Rights Watch and colleague organizations, the Chinese government on February 17 agreed to lift its house arrest of prominent HIV/AIDS doctor Gao Yaojie. Dr. Gao had been detained for weeks to prevent her from obtaining a visa to travel to Washington DC to accept an award for her work to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in China. Human Rights Watch has long pressed Beijing to end the persistent harassment of human rights advocates and their families. Human Rights Watch is working for the development of a more open environment in which Chinese activists and grassroots organizations may operate without fear of government retaliation.

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