Saturday was World AIDS Day, and for China's leaders, it was a chance to tout its efforts to combat the disease.
But what the Chinese media didn't show were scenes like this. These are AIDS sufferers from Henan province. They travelled to Beijing last week because authorities have ignored their pleas for help.
They contracted HIV/AIDS from botched blood selling schemes back in the 1990s. China's former propaganda Chief Li Changchun was the governor of Henan at the time, but was never held responsible for the massive outbreak that some estimate affected about a million people.
Li Keqiang, the man tipped to take over as Premier next year, was Li Changchun's successor in Henan. AIDS activist including Hu Jia say Li also helped cover up the widespread infection.
AIDS is China's leading cause of death amongst infectious diseases. Strong stigma exists in Chinese society against AIDS patients. Last month authorities say a man had to conceal his HIV condition in order get treatment for lung cancer, because hospitals refused to treat him knowing he was HIV positive.
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