Clinton hails China's AIDS progress, offers help
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said Wednesday China has made progress in fighting AIDS since he last visited in 2003 and his foundation would give drugs and help train doctors battling the disease.
"China has made impressive progress in building a comprehensive system of care for all Chinese patients in need," Clinton said at a reception in Beijing.
The government has estimated China has 840,000 people with HIV or AIDS.
Earlier, Clinton signed an agreement with the Chinese Health Ministry for the Clinton Foundation to provide about $70,000 worth of drugs to treat about 200 infected Chinese children.
Clinton also announced the setting up of a fellowship to take urban doctors trained in treating AIDS to rural areas to treat people and train doctors. Several hundred physicians will be trained over the next two years, he said.
Since leaving office, Clinton has campaigned to get AIDS drugs to people who do not have them.
During his last visit to China in November 2003 visit, Clinton said the disease could dampen its booming growth. He also hugged a man infected with HIV at a public forum.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao later made similar gestures, visiting AIDS patients publicly and voicing their determination to fight the disease.
This month, Wen spent the Chinese Lunar New Year eve with AIDS patients in rural Henan province, where many people in some villages were infected in blood-selling schemes in the mid-1990s.
The whole of society needed to be mobilized to combat HIV/AIDS, Clinton cited Wen as saying.
"I am confident that China will fulfil Premier Wen's promise to fight HIV/AIDS with the international community, to protect this nation and all humankind and I want to do our part," Clinton said.