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China ´s big AIDS scandal

DW Documentary for Wednesday November 30, 2022

A young farmer in China is fighting against AIDS — and for justice. Despite all of the government’s attempts at a cover-up, Ximei courageously stands up for the victims of an AIDS epidemic caused by contaminated blood supplies.

In the 1990s, a campaign by the Chinese government convinced ordinary peasants to sell their blood. Five U.S. dollars – about a month’s wages – were paid to impoverished residents of Henan province for their blood donations.

The blood was then re-sold at a high price, with disastrous consequences. Contaminated medical equipment led to some 300,000 donors and recipients becoming infected with HIV, triggering a home-grown AIDS epidemic.

A scandalous media and political cover-up followed, foreshadowing China’s handling of Covid-19.
After falling ill, the farmer Ximei, like many others, was isolated in one of the country’s so-called “AIDS villages”. There, instead of resigning herself to death, she resolutely fought for her life and the lives of those also affected. Her courageous actions, compassion and optimism transformed the tragedy of Henan’s outcasts into a story of hope. This award-winning film was produced by Ai Wei Wei.


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