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Dancing Condom at China AIDS Walk’s Great Wall Campaign

China AIDS Walk (@爱滋徒步), a spinoff of the famous walkathon fundraiser AIDS Walk Los Angeles, organized its second AIDS Walk at the Jinshanling Great Wall in Langfang, Hebei province on October 13, 2013, marking the climax of the second year of its fundraising and HIV/AIDS anti-discrimination campaign.

Group Photo of the AIDS walkers donning the China AIDS Walk T-shirt at the foot of the Ginshanling Great Wall. Photo: Courtesy of @时光胶囊TimeCapsule

Over 200 people from over 50 teams of fundraisers, many of which are from NGOs, both local and international, participated in the walk. Individual fundraisers and supporters of the cause also joined the walk, including several staff from the US and UK embassy in Beijing.

LGBT activists from around the world gathered to support the event. A team of volunteers from Europe called “Positive Love” designed a beautiful label and presented it to the walkers on the Great Wall in an effort to support the cause. Photo: Courtesy of @时光胶囊TimeCapsule

Chris, an American who works as a teacher in Beijing, volunteered to cross-dress to support the anti-discrimination campaign. Many tourists at the Great Wall looked at him in distain. One even called out “Pervert!” to him  loudly  in Chinese. Chris simply wanted to call people’s attention to the discrimination the HIV/AIDS patients and the LGBT community are facing in China. Photo: Courtesy of @时光胶囊TimeCapsule

A dozen volunteers from the organizers Beijing Gender Health Education Institute (GHE) and China Alliance of People Living with HIV/AIDS (CAP+) were the runners of the Walk, taking care of everything from ticket purchase to tour guidance. At each smoke tower along the 3-hour walk, activities were arranged to promote the anti-discrimination campaign for people living with HIV/AIDS.

David, an AIDS patient who prefers not to display his image, volunteered for the second year to be the voice of the anti-discrimination campaign. His board reads, “Hugs of Love. I am an HIV carrier, would you mind hugging me?” Photo: sino-us.com

A Peking Opera performance. This female character is played by a man. Photo: sino-us.com

The blue mojo condom is a highlight of the day. DKT Beijing, a branch of DKT International, an American nonprofit organization which is currently establishing its program to market and sell high-quality, affordable condoms in China, is one of the sponsors of the AIDS Walk. Director Neil Schimid joked, “It was the first time a dancing condom climbed the Great Wall.” Photo: sino-us.com

At the gathering following the Walk at a bar called Destination at Sanlitun, the organizers thanked everybody for the loving help and fund-raising efforts. Marni Zimlin and Brian Newkirk, both activists from the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center who came all the way to China with their respective donations, each received a trophy from China AIDS Walk. Brian gave a touching speech in which he said, “I walk because I want to end AIDS. I lost too many of my friends in the 80s because of AIDS. I cannot think of a better revenge.” Marni, on the other hand, took the opportunity to further promote the “Friends Ask Friends” fundraising model. “I look forward to welcoming the top fundraiser to take part in our 7-day cycling from San Francisco to Los Angeles next year!”

The “Friends Ask Friends” model is a grassroots fundraising method promoted first by AIDS Los Angeles. Tell your friends about the help people living with HIV/AIDS need, and ask them for 10 yuan donation, or ask them to forward the message to another of their friends. Xiaogang, executive director of Beijing Gender Health Education Institute, said, “Do not underestimate the power of 10 yuan. It’s not that people do not want to donate, you just have to ask them.” The China AIDS Walk fundraising will continue until November 25. (To donate, please click here.)

Until October 13, a total of 200,000 yuan has been raised, of which 139,825 yuan has been sent to the account of China Population Welfare Foundation, another organizer of China AIDS Walk. The usage of the fund was also revealed at the gathering. Around 60% of the fund will be used for helping people affected by HIV/AIDS and the anti-discrimination campaign. About 30% will be used on promotion and no more than 10% will be used for administrative expenses.

Guy Taylor from UNAIDS Beijing office, who took part in the Walk, praised the grassroots effort China AIDS Walk has made to the fight against AIDS, calling it “the most meaningful force”. Ma Guihong, an AIDS patient and activist, who was referred to by many as an “AIDS hero”, expressed her hope that more and more people can join in the anti-discrimination campaign. “It is time to de-demonize the disease,” she said. 

The final amount of the funds raised and the top fundraiser who will have an opportunity to take part in next year’s AIDS Walk Los Angeles and AIDS Life Cycle will be announced on December 1.

For more picture of the 2013 China AIDS Walk, please click on.


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