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The Chinese government has freed an AIDS activist arrested last month after posting classified information about an AIDS epidemic on an email mailing list.

Wan Yanhai, an outspoken critic of the government's AIDS policy, was arrested on 24 August after disclosing details of the epidemic, which is thought to have been caused by unsanitary blood-collection practices in rural areas (see Arrest of activist highlights China's AIDs crisis).

On his release, Wan said that his detention - which prompted international outcry from human rights groups and AIDS activists - would not hinder his work against AIDS, and had only increased awareness of the plight of people with AIDS in China.

The country's government announced earlier this month that the China's HIV-positive population would hit 1 million by the end of 2002. But many experts consider this to be a significant underestimate.

© SciDev.Net 2002

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