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China awaits verdict in precedent-setting case on HIV

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • A man who is HIV-positive man is suing over being rejected for a job
  • China's legal system tends to avoid sensitive suits
  • In April, China lifted a 20-year-old ban that kept out foreigners with HIV/AIDS
  • China
  • HIV and AIDS

Beijing, China (CNN) -- China awaits a verdict in a precedent-setting discrimination case, with an HIV-positive man suing over being rejected for a teaching job, state media said.

"I know my case may take a relatively long time, since it is believed to be the first case in China about discrimination against HIV carriers in the job market. But I will try to remain positive about my chance of winning," the job applicant said, according to China Daily.

He goes by the alias Xiao Wu to protect his identity in a country where HIV discrimination is widespread.

The case making its way to court is notable, because China's legal system tends to avoid sensitive suits.

A three-hour trial took place Wednesday in the city of Anqing, in the eastern province of Anhui, according to China Daily.

Evidence presented by both sides needed to be verified and court members needed to discuss the case, said Zhang Lie, of the Anqing people's court of the Yingjiang district.

Anqing's education department rejected Xiao Wu's application because the civil service prohibits hiring HIV patients, said Wei Guo, the education department's lawyer. But a 2008 employment law makes it illegal to discriminate against applicants with an infectious disease.

The case was filed on August 30 and has to conclude by November 30.

In April, the Chinese government lifted a 20-year-old ban that kept out foreigners with HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and leprosy.

The United States had a similar ban against travelers with HIV, which it dropped in January.

China had an estimated 740,000 HIV patients in 2009, according to the international AIDS nonprofit group AVERT. Cases are under-reported, especially in rural areas, the group says.