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Special Home for AIDS Orphans

China plans to build up its first orphanage for those whose parents died of AIDS, according to Huang Mengfu, chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.

Speaking Tuesday at the inaugural ceremony of the China Red Ribbon Foundation, Huang said the orphanage called the "Red Ribbon Family" would be built in Shangcai County, central China's Henan Province.

Covering two hectares, the project will start in 2004 at a cost of 3.5 million yuan (US$423,216) for the first phase.

AIDS orphans aged from six to nine would be admitted to the "Red Ribbon Family", Huang said.

The China Red Ribbon Foundation is a non-governmental organization co-founded by the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce and over 20 private enterprises.

Huang said the NGO would cooperate with the Chinese government on the work of AIDS prevention and control, especially in China's remote and poverty-stricken areas.

The assessment report on China's AIDS prevention and control, released by the Ministry of Health, shows HIV is an epidemic covering all the mainland's 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. There are 840,000 HIV-carriers, of whom 80,000 suffer AIDS.

The majority of HIV-carriers are young people from rural areas, and experts warn that the number of people who are HIV positive will increase to 10 million in China, unless effective prevention and control measures are taken.

As a special and disadvantaged social group, AIDS orphans deserved the most love and assistance from society, Huang said.

They not only suffered a low-quality material life, but also met with discrimination, which was completely unfair, said Huang.

It was every social group and even everybody's responsibility to care for AIDS orphans, creating a good environment for their life and studies, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2004)

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