Make Intentional Spread of AIDS a Crime: Lawmaker

A Chinese lawmaker has urged the inclusion of a new crime, "the intentional spread of HIV/AIDS," into the country's Criminal Law, to better protect the general public from the deadly epidemic.

"The new crime will be applicable to those HIV carriers or AIDS patients who deliberately spread the virus and disease by means of biting, scratching and injecting others or through the channels like sexual intercourse, syringe sharing, blood transfusion and organ transplant," said Li Yaping, a deputy to the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), the Chinese legislature in its annual full session in Beijing.

Li suggested that once convicted, the offenders of the new crime should be sentenced to at least 10 years in prison, and up to life imprisonment and death sentence.

Li, who is from East China's Jiangxi Province, said in recent years, there have been an increasing number of cases in which police officers were bitten or scratched by criminal suspects infected with HIV/AIDS.

There were also media reports about sex workers infected with HIV/AIDS having unprotected sex with men, and about society-hating HIV/AIDS carriers injecting passers-by with HIV-tainted syringe, she added.

"The risk of being infected with HIV/AIDS is expanding rapidly from a few professional circles, like the doctors and nurses, to everyone in the society," she claimed.

Meanwhile, the only article in the existing Criminal Law of China that can be applied for such cases is Article 360, which stipulates that "those who have a clear knowledge of their own serious STDs (sexually-transmitted diseases), such as syphilis and gonorrhea, but still engage themselves in the selling and buying of sex, should be subject to a sentence of less than five years in prison or confinement, and be fined concurrently."

"Since the intentional spread of HIV/AIDS could lead to the death of the crime victims, the existing penalties for such offenses are obviously too mild to have a deterring effect," she said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2006)

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