News

    Chinese AIDS Activist Released from House Arrest to Receive Rights Award in US

    The Chinese government will allow a prominent and outspoken AIDS activist to travel to the U.S. to receive a rights award supported by Senator Hillary Clinton after detaining her at home for two weeks. The release comes after international pressure was brought to bear on Chinese officials, including a letter from Clinton to Chinese President Hu Jintao. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

    Gao Yaojie, a retired doctor in her 80s, said officials in Henan province told her Friday she would be allowed to go to the U.S., to accept a leadership award for supporting women's legal rights in China. She said the police that had not allowed her to leave home for the past two weeks were no longer there. Her telephone service, which authorities had cut, has been restored.

    Wenchi Yu Perkins is the human rights program director for Vital Voices Global Partnership, the Washington-based women's advocacy organization that will present the award to Gao. She welcomed Gao's release.

    "I think it's really due to various pressure and also the government realizes that having Dr. Gao coming to the U.S. and receive this prestigious award is only good for China," she said.

    Gao was key to exposing government-supported blood-buying programs in the 1990s that infected tens of thousands of poor farmers with the AIDS virus through infected blood transfusions. Her outspoken advocacy of AIDS patients' rights embarrassed Henan officials, who often harassed her and restricted her movements.

    Perkins says Chinese officials placed Gao under house arrest because they were concerned she might say something that would make the government look bad.

    The detention was widely criticized and the case to get her released was taken up by former first lady, now senator and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who wrote a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

    Aides to Clinton said China's ambassador to Washington Zhou Wenzhong called the senator on Friday to say Gao would be allowed to go to the U.S.

    Clinton is honorary co-chair of Vital Voices and will help present the award to Gao on March 14 at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington.

    Gao has been given numerous awards for her HIV/AIDS advocacy and education work. Perkins notes this will be the first time the Chinese government has allowed Gao to travel abroad to receive an award in person.

    Chinese officials prevented Gao from leaving the country in 2001 to collect the Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights. Two years later, authorities stopped her from going abroad to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service, a prestigious honor from a Philippines-based foundation.

    The Chinese government has come a long way from once denying HIV/AIDS was a problem to launching nation-wide education and prevention campaigns. But people infected with HIV/AIDS face widespread discrimination and activists are still harassed.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora