A city in Henan province is investigating reports that workers demolishing homes for a new development are threatening to infect residents with AIDS if they refuse to move out, state media reported Wednesday.
Local governments and developers in mainland China are often accused of using thugs to carry out demolition orders and of not paying proper compensation, Reuters reported.
Pictures of the “AIDS demolition team” have appeared on social media. Residents say they have been harassed since December to move out of their homes in an area marked for redevelopment.
The government of Nanyang city confirmed the team’s existence but said it had not hired them, Reuters quoted Xinhua as saying.
“An official with the Nanyang government said a company in charge of the community’s demolition has been closed and is being investigated,” the report said.
“It is not yet known whether the team really included AIDS patients or just used the disease as a threat.”
Henan was one of China’s first provinces hit by AIDS.
In the 1990s, thousands of farmers there were infected with the disease in scams in which people sold blood to unsanitary, often state-run, clinics.
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