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HIV Passengers File Lawsuit Against Spring Airlines Over Discrimination

August 18, 2014 - China's only no frills airline, Spring Airlines faces a lawsuit for not allowing HIV positive passengers board its aircraft. The lawsuit alleges the carrier discriminated against it passengers by not letting them board the aircraft. 

This lawsuit is China’s first HIV lawsuit against an air carrier. China has a long history of discrimination against those with HIV. In 2010, China lifted a long-standing ban on HIV-positive foreigners entering the country. In recent years, Chinese officials have begun speaking more openly about HIV prevention and control, but discrimination remains an issue.


Air carriers under Chinese law can deny transportation to passengers when there health conditions pose a threat to the crew and or passengers. On Friday a Shenyang court allowed the lawsuit to move forward in the court, signaling to airlines that this policy may no longer be acceptable.

Liu Wei, the attorney for the three men said the air carrier did not have the right to reject the passengers as there were present signs that the men’s on board would infect anyone else.

In July, three men had purchased tickets to travel from Sheyang in the northeast to Shijiazhuang, south of Beijing. Two of the men had been tested positive for HIV. When the three men approached the ticket counter, the two men informed the ticket agent that they had been tested positive for HIV.

The ticket agent notified her superiors, she was then informed not to allow the men to board the aircraft as the carrier did not transport HIV positive passengers. Their tickets were cancelled by the airline.

Wang Zhenghua, president of Spring Airlines said the company does not discriminate against people living with HIV. Zhenghua blamed “staff anxiety” for the refusal to allow the men to board, and said HIV positive people should not make themselves “overly noticeable” to other passengers. Since the lawsuit the carrier has not turned away any HIV-positive passengers.



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