Government Moves to Censor Online Discussion on HIV Incident

| Feb 11, 2017 08:00 AM EST

The provincial health and family planning commission condemned the incident and called it a “severe violation of procedure.”

At least five patients at the Zhejiang Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine have been accidentally infected with HIV due to a lax oversight on February 9, Thursday, according to Channel News Asia. Since then, numerous reports and social media posts have been deleted.

The incident was the result of an oversight by a technician at the hospital who reused a tube that was used on an HIV-positive patient in an earlier medical exam, Channel News Asia reported.

The provincial health and family planning commission condemned the incident and called it a “severe violation of procedure” in a statement posted on its official website.

Although five people have been confirmed infected, the local center for disease control has yet to clarify if more people have been exposed to the virus.

The local government body has been informed of the incident as early as January 26, and it is unclear why the agency has not issued a statement during that time. The actual date of the infections has not been specified as well.

As of February 9, the hospital’s official website has been taken down. Channel News Asia also added that hospital representatives can’t be reached for comment.

In addition, reports about the infection by Chinese-language media outlets have also been deleted since Thursday afternoon. Critical online comments on social media have also been removed as a bid to censor online discussion. The only credible source that remains on the Internet is the government’s short statement.

“It’s really a disaster. I can’t imagine the accident happened in one of the best hospitals in Hangzhou,” one of the few remaining posts on Sina Weibo said.

Many members of the online community are shocked that posts about the incident are being deleted. Comment and forward functions in Chinese news outlets have also been disabled on their online reports.

“I think people have the right to know the truth,” one user posted and called the online censorship disgusting.

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