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HIV/AIDS Activist Wan Yanhai Disappears

August 27, 2002

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Su Zhaosheng, wife of Aizhi Action Project coordinator Wan Yanhai, informed Human Rights in China (HRIC) that Wan disappeared in Beijing while under close surveillance by plainclothes security police.

On August 24 at 2pm, Wan, as a representative of the event committee, went to a Beijing caf?located on Workers Stadium North Road to participate in a gay and lesbian film screening. One of the last persons who saw Wan was film director Cui Zien, who left the screening at 8pm. Wan has been missing since the evening of August 24. His wife has not been able to contact him and has not received any communication from him. Su is extremely concerned for his safety and has asked the Beijing Public Security to immediately investigate his whereabouts.

Wan Yanhai is an activist on HIV/AIDS education who divides his time between Los Angeles and Beijing. Wan established the HIV/AIDS Hotline in Beijing in 1992, a project of the Health Education Institute. However, in 1993, the PRC Health Ministry criticized Wan for his advocacy for human rights and his support for health issues concerning homosexuals and sex workers. After he was expelled from his post in 1994 due to this sensitive work, Wan established the Aizhi Action Project. The Project focuses on promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention within Chinese society, protecting the rights of HIV/AIDS patients and supporting equal rights for gays and lesbians. From 1994-1997, Wan played a key role in exposing the connection between blood transfusions and HIV/AIDS in Henan. After he spent a year as a visiting scholar at the University of Southern California in 1997, he continued his HIV/AIDS activism and education work internationally. Since July 2002, he has returned to China to continue the Aizhi Action Project.

HRIC expresses strong concern for Wan Yanhai’s apparent disappearance. Wan’s crucial work on HIV/AIDS education is not only important humanitarian work, it also addresses urgent public health needs in the PRC. HRIC calls upon the Beijing Public Security and all relevant authorities to investigate Wan’s whereabouts, and to officially recognize the critical efforts of Wan and his colleagues.

For more information, contact:
Xiao Qiang 917-650-0940 (English)
Liu Qing 917-650-0929 (Chinese)

SU ZHAOSHENG’S LETTER TO BEIJING PUBLIC SECURITY

August 27, 2002

Beijing Public Security

Respected Responsible Comrades:

I am Su Zhaosheng, the wife of Wan Yanhai, the coordinator of Beijing Aizhi Action Project. I am currently living in Los Angeles in the U.S. My husband and I are PRC citizens. From July of this year, Wan Yanhai was living in Andingmenwai and working in Beijing. Since last Sunday, August 25, the daily telephone calls between my husband and I abruptly ceased. I have been unable to contact him on his cell phone, our home number in Beijing, and have received no responses to my E-mails. As his family member, I am extremely worried. According to the provisions of the Chinese law on disappeared persons, I am requesting you to open a case, immediately conduct a search for him and investigate his whereabouts. I am anxiously awaiting your response.

Sincerely,

Su Zhaosheng