BEIJING -- Premier Wen Jiabao issued an unusual appeal for China's public to help stop the spread of the AIDS virus, promising in a published statement to spend more on research and treatment.
''All levels of government and the entire society must attach great importance to preventing and controlling AIDS," said Wen's statement, published yesterday on the front pages of major Chinese newspapers. It was issued as the weeklong 15th International AIDS Conference opens today in Bangkok.
Wen's statement was an unusually candid comment about AIDS from such a high-ranking Chinese leader, reflecting the Communist government's growing urgency about fighting the disease after years of denying it was a problem.
China says it has about 840,000 people infected with the HIV virus and about 80,000 with full-blown AIDS. But the UN AIDS agency says that the true figures could be much higher and that 10 million Chinese could be infected by 2010.