Chinese Authorities Threaten to Shut NGO After It Releases Report Criticizing AIDS Projects (Updated 3/30)

April 5, 2005

Chinese authorities have ordered the Beijing AIDS Institute of Health Education, a respected Chinese non-governmental organization active in the fight against AIDS, to change its name or face closure, according to a South China Morning Post report. The move comes after the Beijing AIDS Institute issued a report alleging that official Chinese plans regarding the use of international AIDS funding lacked adequate public participation and representative patient sampling.

On March 7, the Beijing AIDS Institute released a report critical of Chinese proposals to use millions of dollars in funding from the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The report alleged that the proposals lacked adequate Chinese NGO participation and that some participants in treatment programs had been individually selected by Chinese officials. On March 23, Chinese authorities ordered the Beijing AIDS Institute to eliminate the terms "Health Education" and "AIDS" from its name, asserting that these terms violated regulations governing NGO names. Institute sources voiced concern that this will affect their financial operations and restrict ongoing anti-AIDS efforts.

On March 28, 2005, AIDS activist Wan Yanhai announced a change in the Institute's name, from the Beijing AIDS [Aizhixing] Institute of Health Education) to the Beijing Zhiaixing Information and Counseling Center.

As noted in the Civil Society section of the Commission's 2004 Annual Report, Chinese authorities use tough registration regulations to limit the independence of civil society organizations.