Gao Yaojie, a renowned Chinese doctor and activist who exposed the AIDS virus epidemic in rural China in the 1990s, died on Sunday at the age of 95. BBC reported. Dr. Gao died of natural causes in New York, where she had been in exile since 2009. Her death was confirmed by Prof. Andrew J. Nathan, a scholar of Chinese politics at Columbia University who managed her affairs in the United States.
As a trained gynecologist, Dr. Gao became known and loved throughout China in the late 1990s for her tireless efforts in exposing a man-made AIDS crisis and for her work to eliminate the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. She discovered that AIDS spread through run-down blood transfusion centers set up with official government support.
She spoke out against blood selling programs that infected thousands with HIV, particularly in her home province of Henan in central China. Dr. Gao traveled around the country to treat patients, often at his own expense. She reportedly visited more than 100 “AIDS villages” and met more than 1,000 families, offering them food, clothing and medicine. Her work also received recognition from international organizations and officials.
“AIDS not only killed individuals, but also destroyed countless families.” This was a man-made disaster. But those responsible have never been held accountable, nor have they offered a single word of apology,” said Dr. Gao in an interview with The New York Times in 2016.
But her outspokenness about the virus outbreak embarrassed the Chinese government, and officials repeatedly tried to prevent her from traveling abroad, where she was celebrated for her work. In 2007, she was briefly placed under house arrest to prevent her from traveling to the United States to accept an award for her work in women’s health.
She left China in 2009 amid surveillance and growing pressure from the local government and settled in Manhattan, New York. Her husband Guo Mingjiu died in 2006. She leaves behind two daughters and a son.
Her ashes will be scattered on the Yellow River in Henan, symbolizing her connection to her homeland.
Source : www.ndtv.com