Chinese AIDS activist Wan Yanhai and his family have left China for the United States because of increasing pressure and threats from the Chinese government, The New York Times reports.

“When I work in China, they can really find a target to attack,” Wan said. “When I left, they no longer had a target.” Unnecessary oversight from tax officials and other government agencies has made it impossible fro Wan to continue his work in that country.

According to the article, this coincides with the Chinese government’s persecution of grass-roots organizations and other civil liberty groups independent of the government, especially those that accept financing from other countries. 

Wan Yanhai is the founder of the Aizhixing Institute, an HIV/AIDS activist group that made headlines in the 1990s. At that time, the government failed to regulate blood transfusions, which resulted in tainted blood and high HIV infection rates in villages of the Henan province.