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AIDS Campaigner Detained

AIDS Campaigner Detained

A Chinese AIDS activist who has lobbied for the government to compensate people who contracted HIV through unsafe blood transfusions has been detained, according to advocates.

Tian Xi, a 23-year-old who contracted HIV as a boy through a blood transfusion, told fellow activists that authorities were angered by his petitioning of the government. Local officials had been urging police to detain Tian, according to the Chinese AIDS group Aizhixing and Meg Davis, the New York-based head of the rights group Asia Catalyst. Tian was ultimately seized August 17 at a hospital in Xincai County in Henan Province and taken to an unknown location, activists said.

"Tian Xi is a sweet guy who has suffered a great deal and who cares deeply about the suffering of others," Davis said. "He is in poor health and we're very concerned about his condition in detention."

In July, Tian was held for several hours in a "black jail," or illegal detention center, while in Beijing during a trip to petition the government, said Aizhixing. Tian has worked in the past for the group, and leaders say they are "stunned" by his detention.

Police in Gulu, where Tian was living, declined comment. Calls to Xincai County officials were not answered.

"I asked him if there was anything we could do to help, and he replied, 'I don't think I can escape my fate,'" Davis recalled of her last conversation with Tian.

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