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NGO: China imprisons dissidents in psychiatric clinics

Chinese authorities routinely continue to lock up political opponents in psychiatric hospitals, according to a report by a human rights organization.

The Organization for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders said, yesterday, that despite the reforms introduced in 2010, according to which the admission of psychiatrists can only be accepted with the consent of doctors and under legal supervision, the decades-old practice continues unabated.

The report is based on conversations with victims and their families published by the Chinese NGO for Civil Rights and Online Monitoring. Cases of 99 Chinese who were forcibly admitted to psychiatric care between 2015 and 2021 were examined.

‘Totally excluded from the legal system’

Safeguard Defenders said the CCP could keep democracy activists and other dissidents completely out of the legal system by requiring them to psychiatric institutions.

Those affected will not have the opportunity to speak to a lawyer or receive a trial. Due to a misdiagnosis of mental illness, they are also socially isolated even after their release.

The organization accused doctors and hospitals of working with the party to forcibly inflict victims without medical justification and abuse them against their will. Most of the victims were ordinary citizens “of the lowest rungs of the social ladder” who made themselves unpopular by petitioning.

According to the report, many of those affected spoke of physical and mental abuse such as beatings, electroconvulsive therapy and solitary confinement. The Ministry of Health in Beijing did not respond to an AFP request for the report.