China to Ban Lepers and AIDS Patients During Olympics

A Japanese newspaper is reporting that China has declared that those suffering from leprosy, AIDS and other ailments may not enter the country during the Olympics. Yohei Sasakawa, a human rights activist, philanthropist and the World Health Organization's special ambassador for the elimination of leprosy, is asking China to change its policy.

According to Sasakawa, China has published a "guideline to Chinese law for foreigners coming to, leaving or staying in China during the Olympics," which states that, "anyone with listed diseases such as yellow fever, cholera, VD, leprosy, infectious pulmonary tuberculosis or AIDS will be prohibited" from entering the country during the games.

99% of the world population is believed to be immune to leprosy:

Leprosy is a chronic bacterial disease that mainly affects the skin and nerves. Left untreated it can result in deformity. It is cured using multi-drug therapy and is only very slightly contagious, and 99 percent of the people in the world have a natural immunity to it, according to the Nippon Foundation.


Moving on from the medical, China isn't keen on protests either.

Here is the English translation (pdf) of the guidelines for foreigners entering China for the Olympics. It's 13 pages long, here are some highlights:

The rules about who can't leave China include anyone suspected of a crime, even before they are investigated or punished (no mention of a trial, they seem to go right from investigation to punishment.) Here's the wording for the third group of people who won't be allowed to leave:

(3) Where the foreigner is an individual whom the relevant authorities believe should be investigated for a suspected violation of China's laws and who has not yet been investigated or punished.

Don't forget your papers. Police can demand them at any time.

Foreigners shall carry proof of identity at all times. Police responsible for foreign affairs at public security organs above the county level shall have the power to examine the passports and other identity documents of foreigners in the course of their duties.

If you're leaving China with more than $5,000.00, you have to fill out a form.

Don't even think about doing drugs. Or defacing the flag. Or yelling insults at the referees. Or using the Olympics logo to make a buck. Also, no guns, ammunition or daggers and no sleeping overnight in public places.

What are the Chinese laws on selling, possessing, and using narcotics?

The laws of China define narcotics as any addictive anesthetics and mind-controlling substances like opium, heroin, methamphetamines, morphine, marijuana, cocaine, and other drugs controlled by the Chinese government. China prohibits smuggling, selling, shipping, manufacturing, illegally possessing, providing or forcing narcotics onto others, luring, abetting, tricking others to use narcotics, or injecting drugs.

There's also a special provision prohibiting drug activity when out having fun:

Public places of entertainment, including includenightclubs, dance clubs, erotic dance clubs, karaoke bars, discos, arcades etc, are open to the public as places of business for patrons to enjoy themselves.

....Any activities relating to narcotics, such as selling or supplying, and organizing, coercing, instigating, luring, cheating, or accommodating others in the use of narcotics are prohibited in all public places of entertainment.

As for protests:

To hold a rally, demonstration, or protest, one must apply to do so at the Public Security Office in accordance with law. Without permission, one may not hold a demonstration or conduct any related activities.

Anyone who instigates or plans an illegal rally, demonstration, or protest and does not listen to orders to stop such activities, shall be administratively sanctioned or criminally punished in accordance with law.

I've never been to Beijing but I've been to Shanghai twice and never felt legally constrained or like I was in some kind of police state. That said, if I were going for the Olympics, I'd be sure to bring along the name of a trusted American law firm with offices in Beijing.

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    I've been to China something like 10 times (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by otherlisa on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:05:11 AM EST
    mostly in Beijing. I'm actually going to the Olympics, assuming my visa comes through.

    The thing about authority in China is that it's arbitrary. There are all kinds of rules that may or may not be enforced, depending on who you are and who might be doing the enforcing.

    For example. And this is just a small example. I've been told repeatedly that getting a multi-entry visa right now is impossible. Not happening. It's really wreaking havoc with businesspeople who depend on easy in and out access to China. In fact a lot of people aren't even able to get tourist visas because of the government paranoia about protests and terrorism - this in spite of the fact that the whole point of the Beijing Olympics is to throw this big coming out party to show the world how much China has modernized and how China after a couple centuries of humiliation has finally assumed its rightful place at the global powerbroker's table.

    But it's always been like that in China, for as long as I've been going there, and that's a pretty long time at this point (1979). They "open up" because they want to modernize; they close down because a lot of what opening up to the outside world brings threatens the power structure (and this is not entirely irrational, given the sad and shameful history of foreign imperial conquest).

    Anyway, back to the visas. Some of what's going on is about finally cracking down on all the foreigners who have taken advantage of a very lax visa system and who are working illegally and staying in the country only semi-legally. Given the huge unemployment problem among even college graduates in China, this certainly makes sense.

    But what the crack down and its arbitrary enforcement are doing to business and tourism is a whole other story. IHT has a good summary..

    Meanwhile, though I haven't yet gotten my passport back, I am told that I will be granted a one year, multi-entry visa, no problem, in spite of the fact that all my friends in China are telling me this is impossible, not happening, period.

    The Chinese consulate where I am has a reputation for being helpful, so there you go.

    Re: AIDS, it's only very recently that China decided to allow people with AIDS to come into the country. Before if you were positive for HIV, you just did what everyone else does: lie on your visa application. A lot of what the Chinese authorities are requiring is just CYA paper for the files.

    Very intersting (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:15:08 AM EST
    Reading that IHT article, I would observe that what the Chinese are doing now does not sound terribly dissimilar to the way the U.S. government tends to treat foreign visitors.

    Yep... (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by otherlisa on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:29:28 AM EST
    And actually I'd say it's still easier to get a visa to China than to the US.

    I' ve been to China 3 times... (none / 0) (#11)
    by sander60tx on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:00:17 AM EST
    and I don't think the regulations sound that different than what is normally in place.  The first time I went was right after the U.S. bombed the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade.  Definitely felt nervous about being in China then (to adopt my first child).  Members of our travel group were questioned going through securty.  Protestors did have to get permits and we were lucky that by the time we got there, the permits for anti-American protests had expired. My second adoption trip was a couple years after the SARS scare.  We were advised to take tylenol before boarding planes because if we had a fever, they would not let us board.  (So much for preventing the spread of disease. We just wanted to get outta there!) For the olympics, the government doesn't want any embarrassment.  The government isn't particularly embarassed about limiting people's freedoms.  But they don't want any publicity for criminal behavior, spread of disease, etc.  Most interesting will be to see if they are able to curb the pollution in Beijing.  We were there last summer (late July) and it was absolutely awful.

    Yes and no (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by otherlisa on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:56:38 PM EST
    IIRC the "AIDS" prohibition used to be in place and then was dropped. It seems to have been reinstated for the Games, but how will this actually be enforced? Answer: it won't. It's just CYA.

    The visa situation really HAS changed in terms of the number of tourist visas granted and the multi-entry visa situation. You won't necessarily find this in writing anywhere but it is a big issue, especially for businesspeople who travel back and forth a lot.

    Also, they are requiring paper for visa applications that they haven't asked for in many years (if ever - the first time I got a visa in '79 it was a really big deal and I had to go through quite a process for that). You have to show a round-trip plane ticket (this is new) and hotel reservations, or have a letter of invitation if you are staying with friends. Not necessary in the past. If you are in any kind of entertainment industry, be prepared to write a statement declaring that you will not be engaged in any film-making or concerts, etc.

    Also it really bugs me when people characterize China as a "Communist" country. China is so far from communism right now that I'd be hard-pressed to point to anything about it that Karl Marx would recognize as such. Unrestrained, unhinged capitalism is practiced in China on a scale that the most hardcore Friedmanite would worship.

    China is an authoritarian country, not a totalitarian Communist dictatorship. I'm not saying this is admirable, just that I believe in accuracy and not exaggerating what something is.

    Also, what a lot of people don't get is that authority is arbitrary and fragmented. One of the biggest problems China faces is trying to create a viable rule of law on the fly that both functions and keeps the power of the central government intact. The central government is not only not a monolith, its edicts are frequently, routinely flaunted by provincial authorities. That's how you can have a state with great environmental laws on the books where huge dam projects still get built without proper review and dozens of schools collapse in an earthquake that if they'd been built to official code, probably would have survived.


    You just defined (none / 0) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:59:35 AM EST
    a state governed by communism, or any other totalitarianism form of government.

    Yes, You Are Right, BushCo (1.00 / 0) (#18)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:06:19 PM EST
    Is just like the commies, that is why we are against him.

    I would observe that what the Chinese are doing now does not sound terribly dissimilar to the way the U.S. government tends to treat foreign visitors.

    I never watch the Olympics (1.00 / 0) (#21)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:17:54 PM EST
    because they have a long history of being used by dictatorships to showcase their version of "paradise."

    I would say that anyone who considers themselves a liberal and who goes to China's Olympics.... aren't liberals.... or else they aren't really concerned about dictatorships.

    Maybe they just like sports.. (5.00 / 0) (#24)
    by sander60tx on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:26:51 PM EST
    The olympics and politics should not mix (though they often do).  The athletes certainly aren't politicians.

    The athletes are being used (1.00 / 0) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 07:38:57 AM EST
    no doubt.

    But if someone truly is a liberal then they should aid and abet the using.


    Stories like this are a definite pick me up (none / 0) (#4)
    by SoCalLiberal on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 02:23:59 AM EST
    I mean sure, things might be bad here with Bush and a capitulating Dem Congress and the presidential choices we have.  But at least we don't ban AIDS patients or leprosy patients from attending the Olympics.  Even Mitt Romney didn't try to make any rules like that!

    yet. (none / 0) (#5)
    by cpinva on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 02:58:25 AM EST
    But at least we don't ban AIDS patients or leprosy patients from attending the Olympics.

    having seen this, i almost guarantee the administration in power when next the summer olympics (who cares about the winter olympics?) are held in the US will review this for pointers.

    of course, the bush administration may beat them to it, and try to have it made into law here first.


    Just thinking... (none / 0) (#15)
    by JavaCityPal on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:29:12 AM EST
    from the days when we lived in Saudi and knew the Saudi men were well known to head for parts of China for weekend entertainment, the ban on AIDS might be understandable. The restrictions on behavior in the middle east sent them out of the country to drink and hire prostitutes for activities they are not allowed to participate in at home.

    Damn.... (5.00 / 0) (#29)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 10:07:56 AM EST
    things must be downright awful in totalitarian Saudi Arabia when the people flee to totalitarian China for a good time.

    Let me get this straight (1.00 / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:04:12 PM EST
    You excuse the behavior of the Chinese providing prostitutes by excusing the behavior of the Muslim men in using prostitutes.

    Quite a progressive position.


    That's a horrible story (none / 0) (#9)
    by SoCalLiberal on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 04:21:49 AM EST
    I didn't know about that.  They were heroes and I'm glad you remember them and educate the rest of us.  

    Our history of tracking illegals (none / 0) (#14)
    by zfran on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 11:25:46 AM EST
    should be part of any thinking of our gov't actually tracking suspect (of any type)individuals coming into this country. We let people in, then we conveniently (or inconveniently) lose them!!!

    Illegal aliens (1.00 / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:08:23 PM EST
    are illegal because they have entered the country illegally.

    People here on Visas are tracked to insure they leave or renew their visas.

    People with communicable diseases should not be let in. No need to expose our population to such diseases.


    People Are Not Illegal (none / 0) (#22)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:18:07 PM EST
    But many here seem to love the right wing meme.

    So any HIV positive athletes (none / 0) (#13)
    by FlaDemFem on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:52:07 AM EST
    will have to sneak in?? And there is such a thing..remember Greg Louganis? I think that was his name. So are they talking about HIV positive or active AIDS? There is a difference. And most of the diseases on that list have vaccinations to prevent them, which are standard or used to be, when traveling in SE Asia. Also, in Asia there are several diseases lumped under the name of leprosy. All of them involve skin and nerve damage. They are all unsightly, which is probably more of a concern to the Chinese government than contagion. Why don't they just stick to the standard health requirements for a visa, and give out a list of vaccinations needed? I remember when we went to Asia on assignment, we had to get shots and shots and more shots. At the State Dept. where they used blunt needles. Seriously blunt needles. The typhus/cholera shot made my arm swell up and get stiff. Not badly, but enough to be annoyingly memorable. Most of those diseases have vaccinations, and are easily treatable. Now SARS is a whole different story.. perhaps the Chinese government will give guarantees that none of the visitors will be exposed to SARS, which originated in China, as I recall. Fair is fair, after all.

    Public health (1.00 / 0) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:14:35 PM EST
    Most of those diseases have vaccinations, and are easily treatable.

    If they have vaccinations then why do the people coming in have them?? They didn't get the vaccination..

    I would guess that their are millions of people in China without vaccinations...

    HIV/AIDS is not easy to catch, but it is known to be different country to country, or better said, region to region. I would guess they are concerned about a Chinese national catching a new strain...


    International travelers (5.00 / 0) (#25)
    by sander60tx on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:30:52 PM EST
    are usually advised to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date.  I never go to China without checking with the international travel clinic to be sure that I am covered.  Diseases like TB, hepatitis, etc. are fairly common in China.  So, it is really the travelers coming in to China who should beware!

    True (1.00 / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 07:41:21 AM EST
    But the Chinese are concerned about what happens if a nasty virus gets loose in their unvaccinated population.

    ask the IOC, (none / 0) (#23)
    by cpinva on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:18:24 PM EST
    they awarded the games to china. being the cynic that i am, i suspect money and other goodies played some small part in the selection process.