Li Cheng (pseudonym) is a tegang jiaoshi ((Editor’s Note: A teacher, often a recent graduate, recruited by public application to work in rural Western areas)) living with HIV. After three years he passed his evaluation which, according to the Human Resource and Social Security Office’s regulations, if passed allows the taker to remain at their post. The classes he taught ranked among the best and met evaluation standards every year. But because Li is HIV positive, his application to remain in the job was refused. On October 24th, Li went to Liping County People’s Court to file a case for both economic (22,400 Yuan) and psychological (50,000 Yuan) damages. On October 30th, the court ruled that it would not handle the case on the grounds that the dispute arose not during, but after the contract signed by both sides had ended. The court classified the case as a policy matter and recommended that the relevant government department should be in charge of settling it, not the legal system. This is China’s sixth AIDS employment discrimination lawsuit, but so far the two cases in Guizhou have not been accepted by the courts. Of the other four, two reached an agreement through mediation and two lost in court. In five cases, the complainants were teachers.
The health examination criteria of schools, public institutions and large-scale SOEs are based on the General Physical Inspection Standards for Civil Service Recruitment. Clause 18 of this legislation (“aizibing bu hege” – “AIDS does not qualify”) has become a stumbling block for people living with HIV seeking employment. They do not display clinical symptoms and those who take regular medicine can expect a long life and can participate in regular work. Therefore many NGOs and lawyers have called for this wording to be altered. In 2012 six lawyers delivered a letter to the State Council requesting clause 18 be deleted without success.
For the past few years, even though more attention has been paid to AIDS employment discrimination cases, none of the previous five cases have been won in court.
Li Cheng has lodged an appeal with the mid-level court in Qiandongnan and is waiting for a reply.