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Monday, December 9, 2013

The Chinese Government's role in the HIV/AIDS Discourse and its Potential Effects to Protect People Living with HIV/AIDS

Qiao Congrui PhD Researcher Receptor Approach

I.           Introduction.

Although there are numerous studies on different dimensions in which anti-stigma campaigns are designed, i.e. intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, community and governmental levels, an important dimension has been somehow rarely visited-public discourse. The Chinese leadership is observably able to intervene effectively in the public sphere due to a stronger confidence that their people show in the government as well as a state-guided media system, thus rhetoric and measures on HIV/AIDS adopted by the Chinese leadership affects the societal environment where combats against the stigma associated to HIV/AIDS are carried out.

This paper offers an overview of a changing discourse on HIV/AIDS in China, based on analysis of documents applicable nationwide and reporting of a newspaper with the largest circulation called the People’s Daily. When examining the above-mentioned texts, the paper provides significant changes during the development of the HIV/AIDS discourse, and ends with proposals for taking the public HIV/AIDS discourse into consideration when anti-stigma campaigns oriented at various levels are launched. The paper further suggests that the cotemporary HIV/AIDS discourse should involve sexuality concept in order to develop a less pressuring culture that can benefit more affected individuals.

In the discourse where HIV/AIDS is de-moralized, a friendly environment should work in such a direction that encourages the public, including institutions, communities and society at large, to protect rights of the people living with HIV/AIDS.

1.         Hypothesis of this research

Study of government trust in China has indicated that a vertical dimension emerges when the object of trust is a multilevel, as Chinese people have varying confidence in local, regional and national governments.
Citizens of electoral democracies, e.g., the United States, Japan and Taiwan, tend to have weaker confidence in the federal/national government than in the local government. On the contrary, trust in central-level political institutions is more prevalent in authoritarian countries. In China, for instance, 30 to 60 percent of the population were observed to have stronger trust in the central government than in local government (Asian Barometer Surveys, 2002, 2008: Q008, Q014;).

Besides, though it is observed that the Chinese media are developing toward a non-politicalized direction, major media entities, in particular traditional ones, are still frequently intervened by the Communist Party of China (the CPC).
There are evidences that issues related to public interest are usually reported in a way in favor of the government decisions (e.g. HE, Qinglian, Frost over the Chinese media, 2006 edition.)

The hypothesis thus believes that legal instruments made by the central government of China and corresponding media reporting have a strong effect on public discourses including HIV/AIDS.

2.         Research methods
This paper is aimed to clarify the interaction between Chinese governmental role and the changing HIV/AIDS discourse in China. Based on the hypothesis interpreted above, the research will:
-          first examine legal documents made by the central government and media reporting that are direct relevant to the HIV/AIDS issue,
-          then analyze significant changes during the development of the HIV/AIDS discourse,
-          and finally try to elucidate factors that may work to protect people living with HIV/AIDS in China.