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Hepatitis carriers fight job discrimination in SW. China city
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11:46, September 18, 2009

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After several Chinese cities brought similar regulations into effect, Chongqing authorities are soliciting public opinion on a draft law. The draft now says carriers of communicable diseases, including Hepatitis B, could sue prospective employers for not giving them a chance for a job, just because they are a carrier.

"Employers can easily manipulate the recruitment process. Once they know you are affected with the virus, they can find countless reasons not to hire you," Wang Xianli, a lawyer with Zhonghui Law Firm specializing in civil laws, was quoted as saying by Friday's China Daily.

"Even though job seekers are aware of the discrimination, it's hard to win the case in courts", he said, adding that collecting evidence to prove the discrimination is not easy.

The disease is transmitted only through sex, blood infection and pregnancy. Even though carriers' lives normally are not affected, organizations and companies in China tend not to employ most of the 120 million people carrying the Hepatitis B virus.

Results from a 2007 survey by the China Foundation for Hepatitis Prevention and Control showed that 80 percent of foreign companies in China discriminated against the virus carriers.

Ma Jiajia, a restaurant owner here said she wouldn't want to do anything that is discriminatory.

"However, it saves you from trouble if you hire someone clean," she said.

To fight for their rights, netizens posted comments on the city government's official website, asking authorities to include in the regulation that blood tests for prospective employees, testing for hepatitis infections, should be forbidden.

"Only when we kill the discrimination from the beginning by banning the tests, can the regulation effectively protect us," posted Zhang Yang.

Wang said the anti-discrimination article in the Chongqing regulations is supplemental to the State's Employment Promotion Law, which was passed by the National People's Congress in 2007. It stipulates "employers cannot decline candidates just because they carry a communicable disease."

Identical anti-discrimination measures are also found in regulations passed in others provinces, such as Shan'xi, Jiangxi, Gansu and Henan.

The draft in Chongqing also bans job discriminations due to nationality, gender, race, age, birth place, height, and religious beliefs.


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