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Ex-Bond battles Beijing bias

Beijing, Aug. 11 (Reuters): Former James Bond actor Roger Moore took aim at hotels and schools in the Chinese capital today for turning away a group of AIDS orphans in town for a three-day summer camp.

Now a Unicef goodwill envoy visiting China to draw attention to problems of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, Moore said Beijing hotels, hostels and schools “should hang their heads in shame” for not helping the 72 children.

Chinese newspapers reported in recent days that the children, attending a Unicef camp that opened yesterday, had been turned away by 30 to 40 hotels or schools. China estimates it has 840,000 people with HIV/AIDS, but experts say the figure is more likely to be between 1 million and 1.5 million.

Some 78,000 children have lost parents to AIDS in China, Unicef says.

The discrimination reflected widespread misconceptions about HIV/AIDS and how it is transmitted, but Moore said he was optimistic China could overcome the problem. “The battle will be won,” he told a news conference.

“It is an uphill battle, but it will be, and we must get across, with your help, to people that there should be no stigma.”

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