Asia Catalyst

Meg Davis Archives

By Sara L.M. Davis 

This spring, when the International AIDS Society announced the program for AIDS 2012, the big HIV/AIDS conference that recently concluded in Washington D.C., the MSM Global Fund expressed concern that "only a fraction of high-quality abstracts" from men who have sex with men (MSM) had been accepted. Other activists and networks representing Key Affected Populations (KAPs) concurred in emails sent to the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) list that they too felt they were being excluded from the program.

By Meg Davis and Shen Tingting 

About 4 months ago, Guangxi and Hunan provinces announced plans to require real-name testing for HIV, and the Ministry of Health expressed support stating it should be a national policy. Immediately there was a huge outcry from the China Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS, the China Gay Male Health Forum, and others. 

A joint report from Asia Catalyst and Korekata AIDS Law Center calls on China to protect patient confidentiality, provide counseling, and end compulsory testing in order to encourage more people to get tested for HIV. Without these basic rights, Chinese government programs that aim to expand HIV testing will not succeed.

The following briefly outlines our joint report and conclusions, but first we want to tell you about a community-run HIV testing program right here in Beijing, which has been dealing with these issues on the ground.

For the past few weekends, I've been gradually deleting information from my Facebook account. Each Sunday, a few more photos come down. That's because I read Rebecca MacKinnon's call to arms, Consent of the Networked, which shows that Facebook, Twitter, and Google are acquiring the size and power of nation-states, but without the democratic accountability or transparency citizens may demand of the states that govern them. Mackinnon asks, "How do we make sure that people with power over our digital lives will not abuse that power?"

By Meg Davis

The following is a cross post from the Health and Human Rights Journal. The journal and blog provide a forum for action-oriented dialogue among human rights practitioners. 

By Meg Davis

Chinese authorities hold periodic sweeps to detain sex workers, drug users, and other 'social undesirables' en masse in advance of national holidays and major government conferences. Sex workers, including feminist activist Ye Haiyan (also known as Hooligan Sparrow) are increasingly vocal in raising concerns about the effects of these raids, highlighting the hardships faced by the lowest-paid sex workers.

In the often-heated international debate about criminal penalties on sex work, we rarely hear the voices of sex workers themselves.  But in China, a new network representing Chinese sex workers says that police crackdowns don't stop sex work - they only drive sex workers further underground, putting them at higher risk of violence and HIV/AIDS.

On March 21, we announced that Asia Catalyst's board of directors has generously agreed to match all donations for our "New Generation of Leaders" campaign in 2012 up to a total of $8,000 dollars. This means that donations of $100 are worth $200, and a $500 gift is worth $1,000. Anyone who makes donations of $100 or more receives a gift book featuring photos and narratives about our Chinese partner organizations, as well as a foreword by civil society expert Shawn Shieh (China Development Brief). Funds raised go to our campaign to bring Chinese activists to the International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C. and to make our work more sustainable. To give, please go here.
The following is a cross post from the great people at China Geeks. The site offers translation and analysis of modern China.

By Meg Davis

China's annual "two sessions" wrapped up this week, and Chinese lawmakers finally considered proposals to establish a national compensation fund for thousands of victims of the world's largest HIV blood disaster.

Back in 2002, Elisabeth Rosenthal wrote in the New York Timesthat in Henan, "poverty begat AIDS, but AIDS has begotten previously unimaginable poverty." For thousands who received tainted blood transfusions while local authorities covered up the epidemic, the compensation fund would be a life-changer.

By Sara L.M. Davis

In his recent New York Times op-ed, Paul Farmer calls for increased funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He's right, but to really put muscle into the fight against HIV/AIDS, the Global Fund also needs to change its top-down approach to funding, given the reality that HIV/AIDS specifically targets the most marginalized people in any society.

By Sara L.M. Davis

In November 2006, Chinese AIDS activist Li Dan sent me an email in New York. I had met this young Chinese PhD student turned AIDS activist once or twice, most recently at a dinner honoring him as a recipient of the Reebok Human Rights Award.

"We're thinking of starting an AIDS law center in Beijing," he wrote in his message. "Do you know anyone who might be interested?"

I did - in fact, I had just come home from having coffee with Jonathan Cohen of the Open Society Institute, who had mentioned an interest in funding an AIDS law project in China. That project launched both Li Dan's Korekata AIDS Law Center and Asia Catalyst.

By Sara L.M. Davis

Yu Hua's New York Times op-ed, "In China, Grievances Keep Coming", says that China's petitioning system works alongside the legal system as a parallel way to channel thousands of individual grievances each year. In fact, as Asia Catalyst sees in our work with Chinese AIDS NGOs, the petitioning system undermines social stability.