AIDS Patient Tian Xi’s Arrest and Current Situation

Wang Keqin has uploaded a very long post as a follow up to his earlier post (link is to our translation) about Tian Xi, his young friend who had been arrested and denied access to vital medication that keeps his AIDS symptoms at bay. Tian Xi was inflected with HIV via blood transfusion in 1996, and has been struggling to get compensation and treatment from the government more or less ever since.

After speaking in his office with Tian Xi’s mother, he describes in detail the series of events that led to Tian Xi’s arrest. Translating from his post, here is a general timeline: ((Formatting and emphasis are ours, not in the original text. I have also skipped parts and rearranged others slightly to make it more concise and clear.))

  • July 23 – In Beijing, Tian Xi receives a text message from the Xincai county Party secretary Gu Guoyin. The basic message was: You’re a college student, you should know how to take care of things. Come home and we will resolve your problem. Come to my office and find me on Monday.

    Tian Xi’s father said, “when the Party secretary texted Tian Xi, that was the first response we’d gotten in six years of petitioning [for compensation for Tian Xi’s medical treatments]. We really thought the government wanted to help resolve things. Tian Xi returned home [to Xincai county] immediately.”

  • July 26 – On Monday, Tian Xi went to the Party secretary’s office as instructed, but was not able to see the secretary. A coworker said that secretary Gu was in a meeting.

    So Tian Xi sent Gu Guoyin a text to inquire about it. Secretary Gu responded that Tian Xi should wait another week and come to see him on the next Monday.

  • August 2 (morning) – The next Monday, Tian Xi went to the secretary’s office at 8:30 AM. But disappointingly, once again he failed to meet with secretary Gu, whose coworkers said that he was having another meeting.
  • August 2 (afternoon) – After leaving the the county Party committee building, Tian Xi went to the the Number One People’s Hospital, the place where he had been infected HIV via a tainted blood transfusion.

    “Tian Xi felt that he had been infected by the hospital, so the hospital couldn’t ignore him. So he said he would go to the hospital,” said Tian Xi’s father.

    Tian Xi went to the office of Hospital Director Li Junzhou hoping he could borrow some medicine [the supply he brought from Beijing was running out], and request compensation from the hospital. Director Li told him that if he had a problem, he should contact the county government, that the hospital didn’t manage that sort of thing, and to get out of his office.

    “Tian Xi was very angry,” his father said, “and he pushed the hospital directors things off of his desk and onto the floor. There was a computer, a fax machine, a phone, etc., later it was estimated at 3000 RMB of damage.”

  • August 5-6 – Tian Xi went twice more to the hospital director’s office. Director Li avoided him, locking his office door and refusing to let Tian Xi in. In a rage, Tian Xi used something to block the eyehole in the Director’s door.

    [Around 4 in the evening of the 6th,] shortly after Tian Xi got back from the hospital, he was taken away by police from the Gulv Town police substation. At that time, his mother was not informed why or about where he was being taken.

  • August 7 – [Tian Xi’s mother receives official word of his crimes and his detention via documents given to her by the PSB.] At around noon, his family picked him up and took him home [because] his detention was postponed. But they were carefully watched, and his mother could not even use a public bathroom on the street without an officer following her.
  • August 17 – At 6:00 PM, 20 police officers took Tian Xi away again. This time he was guarded by six men in the contagious disease room at the Number Two People’s Hospital; this continued for two days.
  • August 19 – At around 1 PM, Tian Xi was moved to the county jail, his family was not made aware.
  • August 22 – Tian Xi’s parents recieve a notice of detention four days later than the date written on the form: 8/18. In the place on the form that read “if the family was not notified of detention within 24 hours, please give a reason”, there was nothing written.
  • August 24 – [At 9 AM, Tian Xi’s family receives official notification of his arrest on charges of damaging commercial property. The form is dated 8/22, but the date of his arrest is written as 8/23.]
  • August 25 – According to Tian Xi’s lawyer Liang Xiaojun, he had already informed the Xincai county jail of his intent to appeal. [Tian Xi was also moved to the procuratorate]
  • August 26 – Liang Xiaojun and Tian Xi met face to face and discussed the details of the case.

Interestingly, it seems Tian Xi shouldn’t be in jail at all, though he did commit a crime. According to Liang Xiaojun, the damage he caused was estimated at around 4000 RMB, but the prerequisite for criminal detention for destruction of property is damage costing 5000 RMB or more.

The bigger problem, according to Tian Xi’s mother, is that he wasn’t carrying much medication on him when he was arrested, and as a result, his symptoms are flaring up to a degree she described as “critical”. They have appealed to the county to lend him some medicine. Tian Xi told his lawyers he had been stopped twice from taking medication, but that he could hold out for half a month on what he had left.

Obviously, Tian Xi’s destruction of the hospital director’s things was rash and illegal (although apparently not as illegal as it’s being treated). On the other hand, it’s understandable after six years of being given the runaround instead of being compensated.

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0 thoughts on “AIDS Patient Tian Xi’s Arrest and Current Situation”

  1. Call me naive, call me idealistic, but social injustice like this makes me burn up inside at the heartlessness of it all. An onlooker in this situation might think the police were trying to force him into dying from his disease so the hospital could avoid any medical costs, and since they wouldn’t have been the ones to cause his death, any sort of compensation at all.

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  2. I can understand the rage on his part, but as with all disputes, regardless of how the opposition acts, you should never do anything that might has the remotest chance of negatively affecting your cause. At the very least, it’s much easier to pity someone who is being wronged but remained spotless in his behavior.

    But I don’t understand the purpose of the police’s actions at all. What is there to be gained by arresting the victim of a medical accident caused (maybe) by professional misconduct on the part of the hospital staff?

    One hypothesis would be that the police were bought out by the hospital to jail this person and thus remove evidence of their previous medical misconduct, but why would they feel threatened, being appointed officials? The only reason I can think of that can explain why they felt threatened by this person is because city or province level officials are prone to act on specific cases and assist the patient in the case, but doesn’t publicizing this issue (they must have known this was going to happen) make the situation even worse for the hospital?

    Then there’s always the hypothesis that some random upper level official was directly involved in the misconduct because he’s a sadistic person that enjoys giving people AIDS and watching them suffer, but that makes even less sense.

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  3. @ chaji: Yeah, you have to wonder. Maybe they didn’t know he was buddy-buddy with Wang Keqin? But they should, Wang’s been reporting on him for years. And since Wang is more or less bulletproof, seems like it would be easier for them to just comp the medicine he needs and move on.

    I think they’re just sort of collectively doing the “if we just close our eyes long enough it will all go away thing”. When he broke some shit, well, that was a good excuse to lock him up and (very possibly) toss the key.

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  4. “But they should, Wang’s been reporting on him for years. And since Wang is more or less bulletproof, seems like it would be easier for them to just comp the medicine he needs and move on. ”

    Well, institutions in general do not want to create such precedents which the public can follow. There are a lot more victims like Tian Xis out there who want the same thing and the hospital wants to make an example out of Tian Xi.

    Both in China and other parts of the world companies often spend alot more fighting against individuals (through force in China and through the law in western nations) than what the individuals request in compensation. I think that will always be the case.

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  5. @ lolz: Yeah, but still, might it not be better to make an example of someone who ISN’T friends with a famous investigative journalist with protectors at a high level in the Party?

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  6. Custer,
    Thanks for the translation of the events, it provides a window of insight into police and legal procedures in China. I hope that we will see more updates in the months ahead on this case so that those of us not directly involved in China’s legal system can learn about the use of police and law.
    I wonder if we might not get the likes of freelance reporter Paul Mooney to investigate this as there is the fuzzy application of the law

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  7. “Both in China and other parts of the world companies often spend alot more fighting against individuals…” That is true, but other countries don’t put people in prision for asking for proper medication.

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  8. Of course it was a tactical mistake, but the man is dying because of the hospital’s actions, who wouldn’t be in a rage? I am ethnically Chinese and often defend the Chinese Government against the mean-spirited and petty bias invariably shown by the Western media but their legal system is a shambles and individual incidents like these are monstrous.

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  9. The real scandal in this affair is the ongoing abusive prescription of blood products in China, on the motive that being the most expensive drugs, their sale brings about a bigger cut to the prescriber. A blood transfusion for a child with a brain concussion is not only totally unjustified but potentially dangerous.
    Plenty of patients in China receive un-necessary Human Albumin IV infusion as a tonic for simple ailments, whereas in other countries it is only used for shocks after major burns .
    Those blood kingpins in Henan could carry on their horrible business for so long and are still under official protection just because they paid officials off. Probably a lot. Scary.

    Free Tian Xi! (and compensate him)

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