AIDS epidemic in Chinese countryside

A horrible human tragedy is unfolding in China, where thousands of rural people are dying of the HIV virus, and as many as a million people are infected. According to the New York Times, the epidemic has nothing to do with sexual practices, but with the selling of blood under extremely unsafe conditions. “Nearly the entire adult population of some villages was infected almost simultaneously in the 1990’s as poor farmers flocked en masse to blood collection stations whose unsterile practices introduced hefty doses of H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, directly into their veins. Now, the victims—including many married couples—are falling ill and dying almost in unison.”
Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 25, 2002 01:40 PM | Send

So how are the global egalitarians going to blame this on Western Civilization, capitalism and traditional sexual mores? We all know this is the knee-jerk reaction.

Posted by: Jim Carver on August 25, 2002 10:18 PM

I suppose the original blood donors initially got HIV because they were not sufficiently educated in “safe sex”. The reason they were not is because the Western capitalistic hegemon refused to listen to the voices of reason on the left until it was too late. Furthermore, if the West had provided enough aid then blood wouldn’t be sold at all, let alone under unsafe conditions — everyone would have the proper health care they need, and all America would have to do is give up some SUV’s and hug a tree or two.

See, being a leftist is not all that hard. All it requires is for you to turn off your brain.

Posted by: Matt on August 26, 2002 1:08 AM

I suggest that Mr. Carver and Matt actually read the article, which is not about some leftist spin as they suggest, but about a hideous disaster. What happened was that large numbers of farmers regularly sold their blood as a major part of their income, and the blood center would take the plasma out of the donated blood, then mix the remaining red blood cells back in a common pool and inject it back in all the donors, so that any diseases present in one person’s blood were then spread to the entire group of donors. In many families, both father and mother have died, leaving children as orphans.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on August 26, 2002 1:43 AM

Oh, I did read the article before I posted, and it is horrifying. I was just trying to answer the question Mr. Carver asked. The disease had to come from somewhere, the process that spread it had to come from somewhere, and Mr. Carver’s question was how Leftists will ultimately end up blaming both on the Right.

The most obvious of the two is that farmers had to sell their blood for income in dirty facilities in the first place. That provided the vector. If evil capitalism had not captured the world’s resources for selfish purposes and instead had helped provide for good medical facilities and economic fairness in altruistically Communist China then the crisis would never have happened. And of course AIDS wouldn’t exist in the first place if everyone practiced “safe sex” and if scientists were free to do research on embryos without fearing for their lives AIDS might already be cured. If leftists had a freer hand and more resources to educate the masses then naturally the masses would practice safe sex and all disease would be cured. In a leftist utopia none of this would have happened, and of course leftist utopia fails to exist simply in virtue of the fact that right wing extremists and other selfish bigoted unenlightened people continue to resist it.

I don’t think leftists will find this disaster as hard to blame on the right as Mr. Carver’s question might imply, in part because in order for the blaming to be difficult one would have to consider things like facts and honest rationality important.

It could be that asking how the left is going to go about blaming this on the right trivializes the substantive disaster. It is certainly a horror.

Posted by: Matt on August 26, 2002 3:34 AM

That the media will try to pin this on the West is a given. The interesting thing is, how will the epidemic affect demographics? AIDS is already depleting Africa’s population. What are the ramifications for Asia, in particular China?

Posted by: William on August 26, 2002 8:23 AM

I underscore what Matt said: “It could be that asking how the left is going to go about blaming this on the right trivializes the substantive disaster.” Or, to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a disaster is just a disaster.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on August 26, 2002 10:32 AM

“Sometimes a disaster is just a disaster”? Yes, obviously. No one is arguing otherwise. But the original poster MUST have had a reason to post the article here in the first place. Or, was the purpose just to get us to shed the obligatory tears?

Posted by: William on August 26, 2002 11:18 AM

Horrible disasters are part of what make the world what it is so a new one that hasn’t had a lot of coverage is worth mentioning. The blog is a loose and personal form and the blogger can talk about whatever he finds interesting.

One basic problem with the Left is that it turns everything into politics. Mother Theresa becomes a rightwinger because she doesn’t propose a political program for abolishing poverty and suffering. Sculpture and lyric poetry are political. I don’t think we need cooperate with that.

Posted by: Jim Kalb on August 26, 2002 11:39 AM

I posted the article because I felt that such an immense human tragedy—with its revelation of what extremes people in China have to go to in order to get by, and the frightful carelessness with human health that characterizes the Chinese health institutions discussed in the article—was of interest and worth a brief post. VFR is devoted to a traditionalist conservative critique of liberal modernity. That doesn’t mean that every item we post must be strictly related to that theme. Occasional brief items on the state of the world, especially if of extraordinary interest like this one, also have their place.

William’s comment, however, seems to imply that in posting the original article I could have had only two possible motives, both of them ideological: either to find in the disaster some angle on which to attack liberals, or to induce obligatory tears of liberal compassion.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on August 26, 2002 11:45 AM

I agree with Jim Kalb: “The blog is a loose and personal form and the blogger can talk about whatever he finds interesting”. So it was a little surprising to see a couple of contributors criticized for commenting on the original post in a fashion apparently unacceptable to the original poster. That’s all.

Posted by: William on August 26, 2002 12:32 PM
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