All New Foreign Students to Require AIDS Test
Dec. 20, 1986
PEKING (AP) _ All future foreign students and scholars coming to China will be required to take blood tests for AIDS, the official China Daily said today.
The daily quoted Wang Chao, an official of the Health Ministry's Epidemic Prevention Department, as saying the order takes effect Jan. 1 and will affect about 2,200 foreign students and researchers annually.
Health Ministry officials said earlier in the week that voluntary tests for acquired immune deficiency syndrome would be administered to foreigners already studying in four Chinese cities, with other students to be tested later.
But foreigners in the central Chinese city of Xian said they refused to take the tests, and foreign students in Harbin, northern China, also were reported to have told authorities they would not comply.
The students expressed concern about discrimination - no Chinese have been asked to take tests - and contracting diseases such as hepatitis from needles used in testing.
Miss Wang said the Health and Education ministries decided to administer the tests to prevent AIDS from spreading to China. Officials said earlier that foreign businessmen, diplomats and journalists will not be asked to undergo the tests.
So far, there has been only one recorded case of AIDS in China, an Argentine tourist who died while on a tour here. Four Chinese hemophiliacs have been tested positive for the AIDS virus after being injected with a blood coagulant imported from the United States.
AIDS is a disease in which a virus attacks the body's immune system, leaving victims susceptible to a wide variety of infections. The virus generally is transmitted through sexual contact, transfusions of tainted blood and the sharing of contaminated needles by drug abusers. Scientists have not found a cure.
Ms. Wang said many students come from countries where AIDS is prevalent and live with Chinese students. In addition to U.S. students, China has many students from Africa, sections of which have been hit hard by the disease.
She said all new students must be tested either before coming to China or within a month after their arrival.
''If they refuse, their study opportunities in China will be removed,'' she said.
Currently there are about 10,000 foreigners in China, including 4,000 students.