10/30/2010, 00.00
CHINA

Chinese dissidents forcibly interned in psychiatric hospitals

Report reveals scandalous cases of dissidents subjected to years forced of hospitalization, systemic shock treatments and chains. Human Rights Watch: this is what the Chinese Communist Party has done since it took power. Nobel Liu Xiaobo: dozens of his friends are under arrest, forbidden to go to claim his prize.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A "campaign" to denounce the numerous abuses against those who protest or present petitions in China and because of this have been detained in psychiatric hospitals, beaten, subjected to electric shocks and sedatives. The activist Liu Feiyue explains that the campaign "SOS Mental Hospitals" wants to make public the many victims of this "system".

Xiao Yong, an activist of the Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch, speaking to Radio Free Asia about Gu Xianghong, who protested the abuses imposed by family planning authorities, the office in charge of enforcing the general prohibition on having more than one child.

"Since 1992 - explains Xiao - [Gu] has attempted to protest the abuse through official channels", in short by presenting petitions higher authorities for justice.

As a result, Gu has on many occasion been interned in Hospital No. 5 of Xiangtan (Hunan).

Xiao and another activist Zheng Chuangtian filmed a video of Gu, who speaking with some difficulty, denounces being subjected to electric shocks and repeated injections against her will and that he has been interned in the hospital 9 times.

"My entire family was ruined by the village authorities- she says - because I have made petitions ... I have been interned here for revenge and forced to undergo injections." "They won’t let me go ... I can not get clear answers from them." "They have applied electrodes to my temples and turned them on" – she says - "They have covered my head and chained my feet."

Xiao and Zheng managed to enter the Hospital No. 5 in secret, by outwitting surveillance, then they were caught and locked up for a while.

Gu’s mother, Xu Meijiao, is held by the authorities.

Xuetao Huang, a human rights lawyer, wrote in a report released Oct. 10 that many psychiatric hospitals accept patients without mental illness, at the request of public authorities, because they are well paid.

"The level of implied consent [in these practices] in the psychiatric profession - Huang reports – is growing at a terrifying rate."

The hope is that these complaints will bring some results: the authorities have given great prominence in recent months to punishments imposed on 5 Henan officials for having sent Xu Lindong, a petitioner, to Luohe City Mental Hospital, on false documents. Xu (pictured) remained interned for 6 ½ years, was locked up 50 times, tortured with electric batons 55 times.

In a 2002 report, "Dangerous Minds", Human Rights Watch complained that the Chinese Communist Party has always considered "political dissidents, believers, the authors of protests and other dissidents" a major social threat". These people are often "forcibly interned in psychiatric institutions of various kinds."

But experts note that coercive methods are still applied by the authorities, even at high levels. They observe that after the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the democratic dissident Liu Xiaobo, the authorities have dozens of dissidents and activists put under close surveillance or house arrest, they have cut their phone lines or follow them everywhere and many have been ordered to leave Beijing and return to their city of origin. His wife, Liu Xia is under house arrest and her connection to Twitter cut off, after she posted an open letter on the Internet to 143 Chinese celebrities and activists asking them to go in her place to Oslo to receive the award for her husband, sentenced to 11 years in prison for crimes of opinion.

The Christian writer Yu Jie has been under house arrest for 12 days. The South China Morning Post said authorities "are afraid" that Liu's friends "will go to the ceremony to receive the award”.

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