BEIJING - Two HIV-positive passengers and a friend are suing a Chinese airline for refusing to let them on board, in the country's first such lawsuit, state media reported Friday.
The pair planned to travel from Sheyang in the northeast to Shijiazhuang, south of Beijing, but were barred from the Spring Airlines plane after they informed staff of their status, the Global Times said.
The two, along with an HIV-negative travelling companion, were told that their tickets had been cancelled.
All three sued the budget airline, accusing it of discrimination and demanding an apology as well as compensation of 48,999 yuan ($8,000), the paper said.
A Shenyang court accepted the case, making it the first lawsuit against an airline for discriminating against an HIV-positive person in China, it added.
"The court's acceptance of this case signalled that HIV carriers can protect their rights through legal channels," it quoted plaintiff Cheng Shuaishuai as saying.
China has a long history of discrimination against those with HIV.
It bans them from becoming civil servants, and they face the possibility of losing their jobs if their employers discover their status, while some have sought hospital treatment only to be turned away.
China only lifted a long-standing ban on HIV-positive foreigners entering the country in 2010.