The Chinese Province of Henan has banned a conference that would have assembled 30 Chinese AIDS activists to discuss combating the disease. Officials say that the conference was illegal because it was unregistered. The federal government recently banned another meeting where Chinese and foreign activists planned to discuss the discrimination against HIV-positive people and the safety of the blood supply.

The impoverished farming community of Henan was especially hard hit in the early years of the AIDS epidemic, when farmers contracted the virus by selling their blood to the government.

The AIDS activist who first uncovered the contaminated blood-buying programs in rural communities in the early 1990s, Gao Yaojie, came into conflict with Henan officials earlier this year when she traveled to Washington, DC to receive a human rights award.