Gene carriers argue against discrimination

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The second trial of three job applicants who were denied jobs because they carry the thalassemia gene opened on Wednesday, in what is believed to be the country's first case of job discrimination because of the gene.

The three, surnamed Tang, Xie and Zhou, were denied civil servant jobs by Foshan human resources and social security departments last year because they were diagnosed as thalassemia gene carriers after passing written tests and interviews.

The Chancheng District Court in Foshan, Guangdong province, rejected their appeal after their first trial in early June, claiming that carrying the thalassemia gene is regarded as having a blood disease.

The Foshan Intermediate People's Court has yet to give a verdict, but is required to do so within two months, according to Huang Yizhi, the trio's lawyer.

The three applicants did not appear in court on Wednesday.

However, outside the court, some students held banners and slogans to protest job discrimination of thalassemia gene carriers.

"After four years of study, every student should have the same opportunity for jobs," said a student who declined to be named.

The second trial still focuses on whether thalassemia should be known as a blood disease, according to Huang.

Under the general physical examination standard of civil servant enrollment, applicants will be denied the job if they develop anemia, a condition caused by various mineral and vitamin deficiencies. Symptoms can include fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness and difficulty concentrating.

"It is unfair to deny them job opportunities since their physical checkup report shows they do not have a blood disease condition," Huang said.

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