China Focus: Amidst storms and sorrows, job seekers fight discrimination with conviction

08:48, March 29, 2011      

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A college graduate burst into tears after hearing the court's final ruling on the lawsuit he filed alleging he had been discriminated against because he is a carrier of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The verdict issued last week concluded the country's first HIV/AIDS-related job discrimination case and brought an end to a young man's eight month fight for justice in the job market.

The man, who would only give his surname Wu, brought the suit to a district court in the eastern city of Anqing, Anhui Province, in August 2010 after being refused a teaching job because he tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

After losing the first trial, Wu appealed to the People's Intermediate Court of Anqing in November, hoping for a turnabout.

However, the higher court dismissed his appeal, arguing that the original verdict was in accordance with the regulations of a pre-employment health check that stipulate people with HIV/AIDS can not be employed as civil servants.

In China, the pre-employment physical check standards used by government institutions also apply to many state-owned institutions such as public schools and hospitals.

"If government and public institutions refuse to employ people with HIV/AIDS, the country's vow to ensure people with HIV/AIDS the right to employment is nothing more than empty talk," Wu said.

People with HIV/AIDS had been demonized in China throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s. However, the government and general public have since adopted a more compassionate line toward the disease, and the Chinese government has been working to combat the spread of the virus and to protect the rights and dignity of the afflicted.

According to the Employment Promotion Act and the Regulations on AIDS Prevention and Control, people with HIV/AIDS should not be denied employment due to their infectious status.

"It is such a tragedy that my case has became the first HIV/AIDS-related job bias case in China, because obviously I'm neither the first nor the last one to be discriminated against in the job market," Wu said.

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Source: Xinhua
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