Village in China votes to expel HIV-positive boy, 8, to 'protect villagers’ health'
An eight-year-old Chinese boy with HIV has been ordered to leave his village in Sichuan province after 200 people signed a petition to kick him out.
The boy's guardian, his grandfather, had been among those who signed an agreement to expel the child to “protect villagers’ health", the Global Times reported.
The newspaper, which has close ties to the ruling Communist Party, said the boy contracted the virus from his mother.
The case has highlighted the stigma attached to the disease in China, where many sufferers face widespread discrimination.
'I play alone'
Previous reports said the boy – who was given the pseudonym Kunkun by Chinese media – was refused admission to local schools and villagers would avoid contact with him.
“Nobody plays (with me), I play alone,” Kunkun said, according to a report on Wednesday on the website of the People’s Daily newspaper.
The website also said Kunkun was referred to as a “time bomb” in the petition.
Party chief of Shufangya village, Mr Wang Yishu, said: “The villagers sympathise with him, he is innocent, and only a small child. But his Aids is too scary for us."
The Global Times said the boy’s mother left the family in 2006, while his father “lost contact” after Kunkun’s condition was diagnosed.
'Ignorance and panic'
Kunkun's plight has sparked an intense debate on Sina Weibo, with many asking how people could be so cold-hearted towards the child.
“Why was he ruthlessly neglected, it is so unfair to him,” said a post by one user.
“This is because the Chinese population cannot get enough education, causing ignorance and panic,” said another.
High ranking officials from the township government said “legally speaking” the boy could not be expelled, and that he has the same rights as other villagers, the newspaper said.
“Officials plan to visit the village and speak with the villagers", it added.
It is unclear whether Kunkun is still in his village.