'The Work of Certain Departments'

A Chinese AIDS activist tells how her health workshop was vandalized.

2012.05.25
china-aids-ye-haiyan-305 Ye Haiyan in front of her Fuping Health Workshop in Guangxi after it was vandalized, May 24, 2012.
Photo courtesy of workshop volunteer

Ye Haiyan is an AIDS activist based in southern China's Guangxi province who ran a small health information service for the prevention of HIV. She describes how unidentified men smashed up her Fuping Health Workshop in Guangxi's Bobai county on May 23 and 24, injuring her in the process:

"About eight people charged into [the workshop]. I didn't know about it at the time. The first thing they did after they charged in was to push over the bookcase and the shelves where I keep the condoms. After that, they started to beat me up, punching and kicking me. There was a guy nearby with a big chopping knife, the kind you chop watermelons with. By that time, there were a lot of people standing around watching outside. When I got up and tried to support myself, and pull up a chair, they picked up a bicycle and threw it at me."

Ye said she had only set up the workshop recently, with the aim of carrying out AIDS/HIV prevention work, and had done so legally, through a process of registration for civic groups. She said the attackers had taken no valuables, so were unlikely to have been motivated by crime.

She said the attack could be linked to her political views, which she has regularly made know on the Internet. It had also come after local officials had told her to close the workshop, ostensibly for health and safety reasons.

"My neighbors told me [on Thursday] that there was a man in his forties directing them. When he told them to stop, they all left. I am certain that this wasn't an attack by a criminal gang, because criminal gangs wouldn't be so moderate, and they wouldn't stop short of smashing up your most valuable possessions. I think this is the work of certain departments who have a problem with the existence of my workshop. I have published some political commentaries online, and that's probably a very important factor."

Reported by Hai Nan for RFA's Cantonese service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

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