On August 18, my friend Tian Xi, an AIDS patient from Xincai, Henan, was detained by police there for “destruction of commercial property”. He is currently being kept in the county jail. When he was detained, he wasn’t carrying his AIDS medication on his person, so his mother and family are very concerned about the danger to his life.
The basic information above comes from a fax that Tian Xi’s mother Chen Minggui sent me on August 24. In the days since then, I’ve been calling the cell phone number his mother provided [as a way to contact Tian Xi] but have not been able to get through. Because of this, as of the moment I am still not clear on the details of the situation.
Tian Xi is a 23-year-old friend of mine. In 1996, when he was nine, he suffered a concussion and needed a blood transfusion as part of his treatment. He contracted HIV from the blood transfusion and in 2004 he was officially diagnosed as having AIDS. He was also diagnosed with hepatitis B and C.
After learning of his diagnosis, Tian Xi persisted in completing college. He graduated from the Beijing City Academy last year with a degree in software engineering.
When demanding compensation for his medical bills and filing lawsuits became hopeless, Tian Xi and his family took the route of petitioning higher authorities to defend their rights. After graduating, Tian Xi has payed very close attention to the cases of all those who were similarly infected with HIV.
Tian Xi is a great kid. When he was in Beijing, he came frequently to my office. He is a volunteer defender of the rights of the weak, and would often bring petitioners from all over to my office. He put all the effort and energy a young person can into providing for and helping petitioners from all over the country.
Occasionally, I would treat everyone to a lunch or a dinner together. He always carefully used the public chopsticks to get food, and then ate it quietly off of his own plate. ((Meaning the chopsticks that touched the food everyone was eating were never chopsticks that had come near his mouth.))
For the moment, there’s no real information on exactly what Tian Xi did, if anything, to get arrested. But regardless of his crime, if he’s being held without access to treatment, the adverse affects to his health could be severe.
Even more concerning, keeping people from getting the treatment they need while they’re in police custody seems to be a fairly common practice. After all, it happened to Tian Xi at least once before, and it happened to others, too.