HRIC is frequently asked, What can I do to make a difference? This page gives suggestions on what you can do in specific areas of concern.
HRIC is deeply concerned about the growing number of dissidents subjected to forced incarceration in mental facilities, without trial or independent evaluation of their mental state, merely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association. Some sample cases are listed below. Such treatment constitutes an abuse of psychiatry, and runs counter to basic principles of international human rights law.
To raise concern about this, HRIC asks you to send an appeal to Chinese officials on behalf of these imprisoned activists. Ask why these individuals are being detained merely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association; inquire why they have been denied the right to a fair trial and to an independent medical evaluation; express concern about their personal safety; and request their immediate and unconditional release. As well as the Chinese embassy in your country, your appeals can be sent to:
In addition, you can write to the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) urging it to investigate cases of abuse of psychiatry in China, as well as to your local member of parliament urging him/her to request that your government express concern about these matters in meetings with Chinese government officials.
Wang Wanxing, veteran democracy and human rights activist, was returned to a psychiatric facility in November 1999. Wang had already spent over seven years incarcerated in Ankang Hospital, a Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) psychiatric facility, after a 1992 attempt to unfurl a banner in Tiananmen Square commemorating the June Fourth massacre. Authorities told his wife that he was suffering from political monomania. On August 19, 1999, Wang was released for a three-month trial period. As this came to an end, Wang told hospital authorities of his plan to hold a press conference to speak out about his confinement. Consequently, Wang was recommitted to Ankang Hospital. Wang has never been given a trial or other hearing, nor has there been any independent evaluation of his mental state.
Wang Miaogen, a labor activist, has been forcibly held in a psychiatric hospital since April 27, 1993. Wang was committed to the hospital, which is run by the Shanghai PSB, to prevent him from disrupting the Asian Games in May 1993. Because Wang has no family (he is an orphan) to advocate on his behalf, his conditions in the hospital are especially dire. Fellow activists who have visited Wang say he is held in filthy conditions and given inadequate food and water.
Xing Jiandong was incarcerated in Shanghais PSB-run Ankang Psychiatric Hospital on September 13, 1993. Xing was deported to China in August 1992 after a failed attempt to win political asylum in Australia. Xing was detained on September 7, 1993, outside the Australian Consulate in Shanghai, where he had staged a series of sit-ins to protest alleged violent mistreatment by Australian authorities during his detention there. First served with a seven-day administrative detention order, Xing was then forcibly committed. Xing was allegedly tied to a bed for three days and three nights, then locked up with mentally-disturbed patients. His current situation is unknown.
Huang Jinchun, a judge in Beihai, was reportedly put into a psychiatric hospital in November 1999 and forced to take narcotics for refusing to renounce his belief in Falungong. Huang was detained in September for joining hundreds of Falungong practitioners in Beijing to protest the governments crackdown on the spiritual movement. He was fired from his job on November 8 for refusing to sever his ties with Falungong, and one week later two policemen took him from his home to the Longqianshan hospital in Liuzhou. Huang reportedly displayed no symptoms of mental illness either at work or after being sent to the hospital, but medical personnel gave him daily injections of a narcotic that left him sleepy and muddled.
Xue Jifeng was forcibly committed to the Henan Xinxiang City Psychiatric Hospital on December 17, 1999. This was apparently a punishment for attempting to register the Zhengzhou Workers Association. (For more information on this case, see page 20.) Although Xue was released from his most recent detention on June 20, 2000, the fact that he was forced to spend six months in an institution although neither he nor his family believe he is suffering from any kind of mental illness is a matter of grave concern.
Wang Hongxue, who was active in a series of 1997 open letter campaigns calling for political reform, was threatened with psychiatric confinement in December 1997. Police summoned Wangs wife and parents to the Bengbu City PSB in eastern Anhui Province and informed them that authorities believed Wang was suffering from schizophrenia. The officers threatened to place Wang in a psychiatric hospital, saying that they would make sure his employer - a textile factory infirmary -would pay for a long-term stay. Police also directly confronted Wang. Ultimately, he was not committed because his family refused to say he was mentally ill and because Wang made his fear of psychiatric confinement public through HRIC. More recently, Wang was briefly detained in 1999 for his membership in the Anhui branch of the China Democracy Party.
Su Gang, a 32-year-old computer engineer, was first detained by the security department of his workplace for refusing to renounce Falungong. After traveling to Beijing on April 25, 2000, to protest the ban on the group, he was arrested again, and on May 23, his employer approved commitment papers that authorized the police to take him to a mental hospital. According to Sus father, Su Dean, doctors injected Su twice a day with an unknown substance. Although he had been healthy before entering the hospital, when Su emerged a week later, he could not eat or move his limbs normally. On June 10, he died of heart failure. An official at the institution confirmed to the Washington Post that Su had been held there.
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