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HIV/AIDS activist Yan Hai Wan will speak at Colby College in Waterville on Thursday, December 5. Wan’s lecture, “Human Rights and the Chinese Government’s Reaction to the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Henan Province,” will begin at 4 p.m. in Room 213 of the Lovejoy Building. He will discuss the Chinese government’s policy on HIV/AIDS and his detention in August by the Chinese government.
Wan is the founder of one of China’s most active AIDS organizations and is a well known AIDS educator and defender of the human rights of AIDS-affected people in China. In 1992 he helped create China’s first HIV/AIDS hotline and in 1994 he established the Aizhi (AIDS) Action Project, a non-governmental organization based in Beijing that provides information on the HIV virus. Wan’s reporting for the project uncovered an AIDS epidemic in Henan Province, where large numbers of peasants were infected with the virus after selling their blood at government-supported clinics.
On August 24 of this year Wan was detained by the Chinese government under allegations that he divulged state secrets. He was released September 20 without being charged. He currently is a participant in the Fulbright New Century Scholar program and a visiting scholar at California State University at Northridge.