China: Sentence for man accused of biting officer extended from 15 days to one year because of his HIV status

January 18, 2020

Published in the Nanjinger on January 17, 2020

The HIV-positive illegal occupant who bit an eviction officer in Nanjing last summer has received a 1-year sentence for obstructing official duties. The case may have this week come to end, but it is not without the threat of its return. It was on 17 June when officers from the Nanjing Yuhuatai District Court visited the illegally-occupied property to carry out a forced eviction. They encountered violent resistance in attempting the eviction, during which officer Liu Fuqing (刘福清) was bitten by Song Mouyu (宋某雨). In the immediate aftermath, Song claimed to be HIV positive. The crowd gathered immediately panicked.

Upon investigation, it emerged that Song was diagnosed as HIV positive in October, 2016. He is undergoing long-term treatment for the condition.

The 5-Day Fear of Having HIV

Liu then had to endure 5 days of waiting to find out whether he had been infected with HIV. After the test results returned negative, to be on the safe side, the doctor also prescribed post-exposure prevention medicines, reported local news outlets. Several subsequent tests also came back negative, confirming that Liu was not infected.

Back at the scene, Song’s motivation for the biting was the defence of his father, who was being restrained after striking a representative of the building owner.

The court initially sentenced both father and son to 15 days judicial detention. However, given that Song was wittingly HIV positive, but still deliberately chose to bite another human, his sentence was extended to 1 year.

It is thought that the court chose its ruling as the obstruction of official duties in case of a retrial, should Liu become infected with HIV at a later date. The HIV incubation period is up to 20 years, and Liu shall require regular inspections in the future. Should this happen, Song could be tried for deliberately infecting someone with HIV.

With the assistance of a notary, the illegal occupants of the building are now set to leave. The court declared the case closed on 9 January.