Please take look at this video on HBV discrimination in China. This isn’t a new story for China, rather an ongoing problem. Despite the high numbers of HBV infected persons living in China, discrimination is rampant. One in ten Chinese carry the hepatitis B virus. The range of HBV discrimination in China is vast. Life changing opportunities are lost due to rejection: rejection from school, lost employment opportunities, and even lost love, all due to HBV carrier status. Even simple, every-day routines like meals with friends and family are impacted. Many of those infected are expected to eat separately, or carry their own bowl and chopsticks. This is due to widespread ignorance on how HBV is transmitted.
An HBF friend told me Lei Chuang, the student in the video who was rejected from a top post-graduate University program due to his HBV status, is a very popular. Evidently he is a very visible and admired anti-HBV discrimination activist in China. Lei Chuang suspended his post-graduate studies in order to campaign against HBV discrimination. One of his on-going projects is an invitation to dine with the Chinese Premier. Every day he sends one letter to the Premier – 151 letters and counting. That takes a lot of courage.
Lu Jun is the director of the Beijing Yirenping Center. He has been actively fighting discrimination in China, along with providing education, outreach and patient counseling. His organization works tirelessly to defend the rights of those living with HBV by providing legal support for anti-discrimination lawsuits. He was also pivotal in creating the Chinese HBV internet forum, www.hbvhbv.com, creating a critical link between nearly half a million Chinese subscribers. (Keep in my that social media outlets such as facebook, twitter and Youtube are blocked in China.) Lu Jun is also a friend of the Hepatitis B Foundation, and joined us for our patient conference in June of 2008.
Having witnessed HBV discrimination in China, first-hand, I can tell you that I admire these men, and all others willing to take a stand and actively fight discrimination in their country. Not everyone is able to find their voice in this fight, so the sacrifice of these individuals is to be commended. However, whether outwardly speaking out or quietly behind the scenes, it is imparative that we all do our part to help raise HBV awareness.