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VIII. Recommendations

To the government of the People’s Republic of China:

On civil society:

  • Revise national regulations to remove burdensome restrictions that limit the registration and growth of NGOs.  In particular, eliminate membership and minimum funding requirements; eliminate requirements that limit the number of NGOs working on the same issue in the same region; and eliminate requirements of supervision by a government agency of NGOs’ day-to-day work.  Allow donors to fund NGOs directly without funneling financial assistance through a local government agency.

  • Bring national and local laws and regulations on the Internet into compliance with China’s commitments under its own constitution and international law to respect the right to free expression and principles of non-discrimination. In particular, the eliminate any requirements that websites be registered with the government, and order the Ministry of Public Security to cease censorship and shutting down of websites providing AIDS information or websites that respond to the needs of minority communities.

  • Invite grassroots organizations to share their input on policy and legal reform, and to monitor implementation of programs relevant to their organizational mandates.

    On HIV/AIDS policy:

  • Enact and enforce national legislation prohibiting discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS and their families in health facilities, schools, places of employment, and other institutions. Protections from discrimination should include mechanisms for victims and their guardians to lodge complaints and receive rapid redress; these mechanisms should be publicly communicated.

  • The Ministry of Public Security should hold AIDS training programs in each province, and train police to work with provincial AIDS organizations to ensure that AIDS workshops are able to proceed without interference.  They should investigate cases where AIDS workshops have been disrupted by security forces without a legitimate law enforcement objective.

  • The State Council Committee on HIV/AIDS should direct provincial authorities to respect the rights of AIDS and LGBT activists to freedom of assembly and association, and provide recommendations on avoiding interference with activists’ work.

  • The State Council should issue a statement calling on the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Public Security and local bureaus under their direction to investigate local policies and regulations that restrict the activities and free expression of AIDS organizations and AIDS activists. 

  • Create regulations that allow the establishment of non-profit orphanages and care facilities for children affected by AIDS.

  • For the sake of the integrity and success of future AIDS prevention and control programs in Henan province, the State Council should authorize a full, independent and impartial investigation into the involvement of Henan authorities in the transmission of HIV through blood and plasma collection.  If this cannot be accomplished, the United Nations or other credible international body should be authorized to conduct such an investigation.

  • The investigation should also examine the Henan government detentions of AIDS activists, responses to protests by people living with AIDS, corruption in the administration of funds intended to benefit people living with AIDS in Henan, restrictions on domestic and international media, police abuse, and the state’s closure of nongovernmental AIDS orphanages.

  • Authorities should take appropriate action, including dismissal, against any officials determined to have been responsible or negligent in the blood scandal, or who were involved in the cover-up.

  • The Ministry of Education and state education bureaus should ensure that no children are excluded from school or discriminated against in school because of their or their caregivers’ HIV status. All schools should receive guidelines on preventing discrimination before it occurs and responding to individual cases, and protocols for enrolling HIV-positive children that address maintaining the confidentiality of the child’s HIV status, addressing the parents’ concerns, and accommodating any special needs the child may have. States should monitor schools’ compliance.

  • The Ministry of Health and state health departments, with assistance from international donors, should ensure that children living with HIV/AIDS receive all available medical care, including antiretroviral treatment, and use all possible means to remove barriers to their receiving care. In particular, they should prohibit government hospitals from discriminating against people living with HIV/AIDS, set guidelines for maintaining the confidentiality of HIV status of persons using health services, and explore ways of better regulating the private sector. They should also ensure that medical staff have the means to protect themselves from hospital-based HIV transmission, including protective clothing and post-exposure prophylaxis. In implementing the government’s antiretroviral drug program, they should ensure that services are offered in a way that maintains the confidentiality of participants’ HIV status and that the program reaches marginalized children, including street children, children in orphanages and those in other residential institutions.

  • The Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Public Health, and their provincial counterparts should all require orphanages and other institutions that they license to accept qualifying children when there is space available for them.

  • The Ministry of Education and state education bureaus should ensure that all students, at the earliest possible level, receive age-appropriate information on preventing HIV/AIDS, keeping in mind the low numbers of children, especially girls, who enroll at the secondary level. This would be in accord with the recommendations of the 2002 U.N. General Assembly Special Session on Children. HIV/AIDS education should cover the correct and consistent use of condoms as the most effective way to prevent HIV transmission during sexual intercourse, including in long-term unions.

    To the Henan provincial government and other local authorities in China:

  • Release all AIDS activists currently in detention for protesting or advocating for access to treatment and care. Promulgate regulations prohibiting discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS in access to care.

  • Establish training programs for healthcare workers in HIV/AIDS treatment and universal precautions.

  • Establish training programs for public security officers in HIV/AIDS and human rights.

  • Cease restrictions on communication by people with HIV/AIDS with Chinese or international media.

    To the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and other international donors to HIV/AIDS programs in China:

  • All donors should advocate for transparency, access to information for AIDS activists and vulnerable populations.

  • Donors should condemn the detention of AIDS activists generally, especially when such detentions are done for the purpose of hiding those persons from donors.

  • Other donors should consider adopting the Global Fund’s new guideline that NGOs participating in their AIDS programs should be demonstrably organizations that legitimately represent a real community, and not be “government-organized” NGOs.

  • Bilateral aid agencies should set aside a pool of funding targeted to grass-roots Chinese organizations that can be applied for with a minimal application procedure.

  • Examine restrictions on application for funding by small commercial enterprises in China, and develop new ways to facilitate their ability to apply for funds.

  • Advocate for revisions of the Social Organizations Regulations to eliminate burdensome registration and management requirements.

  • When AIDS activists or lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender activists are detained, raise public or private concerns with Chinese colleagues and press for their release.

  • Assist Chinese AIDS activists in danger of arrest for their AIDS outreach work to find temporary safe haven.

    To U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:

  • Support technical assistance programs to give provincial police extensive human rights and AIDS awareness training.

  • Provide training for Chinese AIDS and lesbian and gay rights NGOs on human rights monitoring and reporting.

    To the U.N. Theme Group on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS and other U.N. agencies with AIDS programs in China:

  • As part of regular evaluations on China’s progress in combating the AIDS epidemic, evaluate China’s compliance with the U.N. HIV/AIDS and Human Rights Guidelines.

  • Translate the Guidelines into Chinese, distribute them to Chinese government officials and to local NGOs in China, and make them available on the UNAIDS China website.

  • Press the Chinese government to uphold the Guidelines, and to engage in regular consultation with community organizations on design of AIDS policy and law.

  • Support the immediate passage of strong antidiscrimination legislation that protects the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS and their families.

  • Consider a high-level summit or strategy meeting on protecting the rights of children affected by HIV/AIDS in China.

    To international partners in bilateral rights dialogues with China:

  • Inform Chinese and Henan officials that detention of any AIDS activists in advance of a diplomatic visit to Henan will result in a public response.

  • Raise the issues above with Chinese dialogue partners.

    <<previous  |  index  |  next>>June 2005