, JIANGXI, China, Jan 28 – China has seen its first case of an AIDS patient being awarded compensation for discrimination on account of his condition.
Xiao Qi (a pseudonym) said that he had received 45,000 Yuan in compensation from an education bureau which allegedly disqualified him from consideration for a teaching post last year after a pre-employment health check uncovered that he was HIV-positive.
“I was indignant when I learnt that I lost the chance to be a teacher, but the compensation I got just illuminates that the law can guarantee our [AIDS patients] legal rights,” said Xiao.
In November 2012, Xiao brought to court a suit against the education bureau of Jinxian County in east China’s Jiangxi Province, over the sudden turning-down of his application to become a local school teacher. He had passed the teacher qualification examination in June with high scores.
Xiao and the county’s education bureau reached an agreement as a result of mediation by a local court on Dec 27.
Under the agreement, Xiao agreed to drop the charge against the county’s education bureau of infringing his rights of equal employment, while the bureau would pay 45,000 Yuan ($7,228) to him in compensation.
“This is the first case in which an AIDS patient has got compensation in employment discrimination in China, and it is significant,” said Cheng Yuan, director of Tianxiagong (meaning “justice for all”), an NGO that focuses on issues of discrimination against people with disabilities, Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.
With a population of over 1.3 billion, China has an estimated 780,000 people living with HIV/AIDS.
The number of reported cases of HIV/AIDS stood at 492,191 by the end of October 2012, according to the Ministry of Health.
Under China’s Regulations on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment issued in 2006, the legal rights of people living with HIV/AIDS and their relatives should be protected, including the rights of marriage, employment, medical treatment and education.
“It’s extremely hard for AIDS patients to seek legal help in China, and there have been several court cases over AIDS employment discrimination, the claimant failing to win in all of them,” said Liu Wei, a public interest lawyer. “Xiao Qi’s case is a milestone in China’s HIV/AIDS anti-discrimination work.”