Times of India
29 April 2010
By Michael Wines
Days before travellers worldwide are to begin arriving for Shanghai's world exposition, China has lifted a twodecade ban on travel to the country by people who carry the virus that causes AIDS or who have other sexually transmitted diseases.
The action also removed a longstanding ban on travel to China by people with leprosy.
The government approved amendments to a 1986 law governing quarantines and a 1989 law regulating entry by foreigners, removing prohibitions related to people with HIV, which causes AIDS, China’s State Council, a body roughly equivalent to the White House cabinet, reported on Tuesday.
The council’s standing committee approved the changes on April 19 and Premier Wen Jiabao signed decrees putting them into effect on April 24. With the changes, the ban on travel is officially limited only to people with infectious tuberculosis, serious mental disorders and “infectious diseases which could possibly greatly harm the public health.”
China has temporarily lifted the ban on HIV–positive travellers for major events in the past, but the revision of longstanding laws indicates that the latest change will be permanent.
The state–run newspaper China Daily quoted a spokesman for the health ministry, Mao Qun’an, as saying that the ministry had been working to permanently remove the prohibition since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In January, the United States dropped its own ban on visitors who are HIV positive. The ban had been in effect for 22 years. President Obama said he was fulfiling a promise he had made to gay advocates and acting to eliminate a restriction he said was “rooted in fear rather than fact.”
China Hides Pirated DVDs before Expo
In China, embarrassments are usually hidden from sight when the world comes visiting, and that is what has happened to a large supply of bootleg DVDs and CDs as Shanghai prepares for the World Expo, which is expected to attract 70 million visitors. A few weeks ago, government inspectors fanned out across the city and ordered shops selling pirated music and movies to stash away their illegal goods during the expo, a six–month extravaganza that opens on May 1.
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