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    Former Health Official Calls for Henan HIV Scandal Probe

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    Just ahead of World AIDS Day, a former Chinese health official is again calling for an investigation into the blood banks that led to an outbreak of HIV in Henan Province in the 90s. He wants senior Communist Party members involved in the scandal to be held accountable, and despite pressure from authorities, he says he won't back down.

    A former head of the China Health Education Research Institute, Chen Bingzhong, has once again appealed for people who contracted HIV in central China by donating blood in the 90s.
    Chen has been calling for an investigation into commercial blood banks in Henan Province during the 90s. At the time, Henan authorities encouraged peasants to sell blood as a way to generate income. Some estimate up to 100,000 people contracted the HIV virus as a result.

    Despite the scale of the outbreak, so far no one has been held accountable. Chen says the top two officials in Henan covered up the scandal and harassed those who tried to expose it. The two men are now senior Communist Party leaders.

    "People can make mistakes, but they cannot cover it up. This is basic morals. What happened is a total loss of humanity and conscience. The high ranks of the Communist Party are protecting one another."

    Chen is 79-years-old and has advanced liver cancer. He says he will continue to speak for Henan's HIV and AIDS sufferers, despite the pressure it may bring.

    [Chen Bingzhong, AIDS Activist]:
    "As a health worker I have a responsibility to be the voice for these victims, otherwise I would be incompetent. Regardless of how much I'm threatened I won't stand down. A few days ago, Beijing police called me and tried to pressure me. I said 'I won't back down.' I'm near my days anyway, and I want my death to be meaningful."