07/04/2006, 00.00
CHINA
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Henan: activist knifed after denouncing public health corruption

For years, Liu Xiaowu has been struggling against the government silence regarding people with AIDS. He was attacked and injured for denouncing the resale by public officials of anti-HIV drugs, supplied free-of-charge from the State.

Shangcai (AsiaNews/SCMP) – A man armed with a knife has seriously injured Liu Xiaowu, a renowned activist who for years has been struggling against AIDS in China. The attack came four days after Liu publicly accused public health officials in Henan of selling free medicines sent by the central government.

Liu was injured on 15 June: the 40-year-old activist, who has AIDS, was struck three times in the back. He was unconscious for three days and is currently hospitalized in Shangcai County.

"The hospital treatment for the wounds cost me 8,000 yuan [around 800 euros]," he said. "The police have done nothing to try to track down my attacker."

Liu accused Zhou Xinzhi, the director of the health institute of the village of Shilipu, of selling free medicine given to HIV/Aids patients. "He buys the medicine from village patients at 0.7 yuan per dose and resells it to a wholesale pharmaceutical store in the county for 6.9 yuan," he said. "This works because some villagers are not sick enough to take the drugs or need the money, so they are prepared to sell the medicine."

More than 300 people in Shilipu are HIV-positive or sick with Aids. Liu and other villagers had repeatedly lodged complaints about the health director with the county Health Bureau, but had not received a response.

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