In his dying days, a retired Chinese health official is calling on the government to come clean about a 1990s blood-selling scandal that infected tens of thousands of people with the virus that causes AIDS.

His appeal this week for a full and open investigation highlights a contradiction in China’s AIDS policy. Even as the government has become more open and better at treating HIV, it has refused to acknowledge past lapses, which it fears could embolden citizens to challenge its legitimacy.

“Not even one word of apology has been given to the victims, much less those who died, this is not how politicians should act,” 78-year-old Chen Bingzhong wrote in an open letter to President Hu Jintao. “How can dealing with such a major disaster this way ever be explained to our countrymen, especially the many victims?!”

Ex-health official tells of ‘90s AIDS scandal, 11/30/10

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