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Group calls for release of Chinese AIDS advocate

Group calls for release of Chinese AIDS advocate

The civil rights group Human Rights Watch on Tuesday called for the release of a Chinese health official imprisoned for distributing a government report on a blood-selling scandal that may have infected as many as 2 million people with HIV. Ma Shiwen, deputy director of the Henan Center for Disease Control in Henan province, was arrested in August for allegedly leaking documents about the scandal to an AIDS advocacy group. The infections were caused by blood brokers who collected blood from rural residents in the country by using dirty needles, pooled unusable blood products, then injected them back into donors so that they could more quickly recover and donate again. The Chinese government initially denied the scandal and previously arrested a leading AIDS activist for speaking out about the issue. Ma has reportedly been sentenced to 10 years in prison for leaking the report, although Chinese government officials refuse to confirm whether he's even been arrested.

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