1. Wide of protesters shouting (Mandarin): "We need to live"
2. Female protester shouting and raising her fist
3. Protesters chanting at the gates of China's Ministry of Health in Beijing
4. Onlooker taking photos
5. Wide of protesters at the entrance of the Ministry of Health
6. SOUNDBITE (Mandarin) Xia Fuchang, HIV and Hepatitis C carrier:
"Our goal coming here today is that we want to ask the government for compensation. Each person should be compensated with 100-thousand yuan, and additionally 1,000 yuan per month for living expenses. The government should give us free medical treatment, also for Hepatitis C, and another request is that the number 6 provincial hospital, which is treating severe patients, is charging us large amounts of deposit (for treatment) which we cannot afford. So we are asking the government to pay the deposit directly to the hospital."
7. Mid of police car
8. Young protester chanting
9. Wide of protest
10. People watching the protest
11. SOUNDBITE (Mandarin) Xia Fuchang, HIV and Hepatitis C carrier:
"Now, we have not seen a change so far. We came to Beijing to petition on December 1st last year (World's AIDS Day). Some leaders from the central government came out to meet us but during the discussion they only mentioned the issue of discrimination in society. But what we need is to resolve the issues regarding our living conditions. Mainly we want to call the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to adopt measures to resolve the problems concerning our living and employment conditions."
12. Close of man observing protest
13. Wide of protest
14. Mid of police van and officers near protesters
About 100 HIV and Hepatitis C sufferers protested in front of the Chinese Ministry of Health in Beijing on Thursday, demanding the authorities guarantee their rights and compensate them for tainted blood transfusions.
The majority of the petitioners had come to Beijing from the central province of Henan, where tainted blood transfusions back in the late 1990s led to a widespread public health scandal infecting thousands.
In some villages in Henan, nearly every family has someone with HIV.
The protesters chanted outside the Ministry of Health, braving the smog and a sandstorm sweeping China's capital, while half a dozen police agents watched without intervening.
"We want to ask the government for compensation. Each person should be compensated with 100-thousand yuan (16,071 US dollars), and additionally 1,000 yuan (160 US dollars) per month for living expenses," said Xia Fuchang, who said he was infected with Hepatitis C, as well as HIV.
Xia, a native of Shanxi province, explained that the provincial hospital designated to treat acute infectious disease was requesting large deposits from patients.
"We are asking the government to pay the deposit directly to the hospital," Xia said.
Groups of HIV sufferers and AIDS rights activists regularly try to make it to the capital to protest or petition the government for better treatment or compensation.
They usually arrive on meaningful dates such as World AIDS day or before important political events, risking being abducted by thugs and locked up or sent back home.
Thursday's protest comes when China's leaders are getting ready for the early March legislative session - an annual gathering of officials from across the country that this year will stage a once-in-a-decade power handover.
Last August, hundreds of HIV positive patients and relatives tore down the gates of the Henan provincial government buildings in a bid to get officials to meet their demands.
But people with AIDS still face difficulties in getting treatment and compensation, and authorities remain deeply suspicious of independent activists.
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