Sent to psychiatric institutions against their will—that’s what’s happening to thousands of Chinese people each year, according to a Hong Kong base human rights group.
The Chinese Human Rights Defenders released a report on Wednesday detailing the rights abuses facing this group of people. It says the Chinese regime’s system of psychiatric confinement is prone to abuse, and many of those admitted are individuals the government wants silenced.
One of those is Zhong Yafang, a victim of medical negligence in Zhejiang province. She was wrongly given chemo-therapy drugs in 2006. She tried to seek legal redress but says authorities blocked her efforts. After trying to appeal in Beijing, Zhong was detained in 2009 and sent to a psychiatric hospital.
[Zhong Yafang, Victim of Psychiatric Abuse]
“Of course my body and mind was severely abused, as well as my reputation. All of a sudden I was labeled a psychiatric patient. My parents cried day and night. All of the damage it’s done to me, and my family…I cannot put into words.”
Anhui-based democracy activist Qian Jin was sent to a psychiatric institute for four months in 2011. That’s when Chinese authorities cracked down on activists following fears of an Arab-style Jasmine Spring revolution.
[Qian Jin, Democracy Activist]
“This is how the regime persecutes people, whether it’s democracy activists, rights defenders, petitioners or Falun Gong. That’s what the regime does. It has no actual reason to sentence you, but is afraid of the things you do, so it sends you to psychiatric hospitals.”
As early as 2000, human rights groups have raised the alarm of psychiatric abuse by the Chinese Regime. Particularly affected are practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual practice who have faced a nation-wide persecution campaign since 1999.
Human Rights Defenders say forced medical treatment, violence, and mistreatment occur frequently to those who are forcibly sent to psychiatric institutes.