TIAN XI, a 23-year-old university graduate, was infected by HIV/AIDS at the age of nine through a blood transfusion. For years, with his father Tian Demin, he has fought for compensation for HIV/AIDS patients infected through official malpractice. In the 1990s many people contracted HIV through selling their blood, especially in Henan province, where the blood-collecting stations were often poorly managed and unsafe.
On 2 August 2010, Tian Xi attempted to speak with the Principal of the hospital where he had been infected. The Principal physically rebuffed him and, in some irritation, Tian Xi pushed items off his desk. Two weeks later, 20 police officers and people in white coats arrested the young man at his home, in Xincai county, Henan province. On 23 August, he was officially charged with « intentionally damaging property », in the form of hospital cups and other things that fell from the Principal’s desk.
On 8 July, Tian Xi was in Beijing preparing to show a documentary in which he was the main subject, at a meeting organized by an HIV/AIDS education group, the Beijing-based Aizhixing Institute. Aizhixing is a pun on the Chinese term for HIV/AIDS ‘Aizibing’, replacing the word ‘illness’ with ‘action’. The organization has lobbied the Chinese government to provide better care to HIV/AIDS patients and ensure accountability for people infected through medical malpractice. Aizhixing staff, like many HIV/AIDS activists in China, have been so frequently subjected to harassment that the director of the organization left China in May 2010, to avoid constant police detentions.
Chinese security forces cancelled the screening of the documentary, which showed Tian Xi as a positive example of a person living their life with HIV/AIDS. Police warned the documentary-maker that the film could threaten social stability by arousing audience emotion. Tian Xi was detained for six hours and warned against taking part in any public protest on HIV/AIDS issues.
He is currently in detention and, according to his lawyer, he does not have adequate access to the medical treatment he needs. His parents are not allowed to visit him and to give him the daily medication that he has to take. He could be subjected to torture and other ill-treatment.