AIDS activist hassled over home library

09:51, November 12, 2010      

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A civil rights and AIDS activist in Anhui Province said local authorities are pres-suring him to stop using his home as a public library.
Chang Kun, 25, opened his 2,000- book library to residents in Linquan county and has offered free Internet access since May 4. Authorities said they inspected the books to check for pirated copies.

Ge Jinhai, Party secretary of Chengguan township in Linquan, told the Global Times that Chang's activities were illegal, but did not explain why.

An assistant to Linquan Party secretary Zhu Aiming said that he never heard of Chang, but added that the office will support him if he contacts them.
"My aim is to make my fellow residents learn more and improve awareness about their rights," Chang told the Global Times, adding that about 150 people visit his home regularly.

He established a now-defunct AIDS group and was expelled from a university in 2006 after assisting students in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, who were expelled because they suffered from Hepatitis B.

Chang said he allowed everyone to use his collection of novels and books about AIDS, and said that the level of community services in the US impressed him. Most of the books were donated.

Chang said in March 2005, before opening the library, he formed an AIDS awareness group which was later forced to break up. He set up an AIDS website in 2006, which is no longer online.

Chang said several men carrying Linquan Press and Publication Bureau identifications came to his home one night to check pirated books.

"Wang Zizhong, the Party secretary in the Guangming community, where the library is located, once talked to my father and asked him to close the library," he said.

However, Wang denied he ever did so when contacted by the Global Times.

An employee at the Linquan Press and Publication Bureau, who only gave his surname as Cai, told the Global Times that it is part of their job to investigate pirated books. "We should check if there are pirated books. These are our rules. We have informed Chang to handle procedures in the local industrial and commercial bureau," he said.

Chang is a co-founder of Beijing Yirenping Center. Cui Qingfeng, a lawyer at Chang An Law Firm, said people who lend large numbers of books to others should get permission from the local industrial and commercial bureau.

By Ge Lili, Global Times


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