Missing Chinese activist reportedly in police detention

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com September 07 2002 12:00 AM ET

A prominent Chinese AIDS activist who disappeared last month has been secretly detained on suspicion of leaking state secrets for releasing a government report on the spread of AIDS, a friend of the man said Friday.

Wan Yanhai, a former Health Ministry official, became internationally known after revealing that an unsanitary blood-buying industry was responsible for spreading the AIDS virus in the central province of Henan. He was last seen August 24 leaving a gay and lesbian film festival in Beijing.

Wan was picked up that day by China's secret police agency, the Ministry of State Security, said his friend, fellow activist Hu Jia. He said he learned of the detention through private sources, on which he would not elaborate. "I think they wanted to shut him up but didn't realize how well-known he was or how concerned and sympathetic people are about the AIDS problem," Hu said by telephone.