Chinese villagers sign petition to isolate HIV-positive child
Kun Kun lives with his grandparents near the town of Xichong in the southwest Sichuan province. He has been ostracized by the villagers after having contracted the virus from his mother – but was only diagnosed when he was five years old. He is now eight.
The petition additionally says that the boy “now provokes fear among the community.” Kun, according to the Beijing Youth Daily report, does not go to school and has been starting fires and running amok.
“Nobody wants to play with me, so I just play by myself,” he was quoted as saying by The Independent.
The boy reportedly watched his grandfather sign the petition, after which he “raced home, climbed into bed, and laid there wordlessly.” The grandfather had adopted the boy’s stepfather as a child. When asked why he had put his name on the petition, the grandfather said that he and his wife had “no way of taking care of this child” because they were aging and not in the best health.
Officials are going to attempt to educate the villagers. The village's party secretary, Wang Yishu, told the Beijing Youth Daily: “Everyone pities him, he's innocent and after all he's just a child. But the fact that he has AIDS is too scary for this village. We don't know what to do with him.”
Villagers have reportedly aired fears that their children could “catch AIDS” even by coming into contact
with the child, with one even labeling Kun a “time bomb.”
Many comments on the “Chinese Twitter” messaging service, Weibo, have condemned the attitude. “This has to do with many people lacking knowledge, and the crux of the matter is there needs to be more education to avoid more such situations,” a user wrote.
The Chinese government has attempted to put a stop to such discrimination though legislation. However, negative attitudes towards the illness prevail. In August, two passengers sought legal action against a Chinese budget airline after it did not allow them on board.