In China, mental hospitals are used to persecute dissidents, notably Falun Gong practitioners.

Safeguard Defenders is an NGO concerned with human rights in China. The non-profit recently produced an investigative report documenting how Chinese authorities had forcibly jailed dissidents for several years under the guise of “mental sickness.” 

The report says China’s psychiatric facilities are used to silence opponents. Chinese police kidnap critics without medical certificates and hold them for months to years in these facilities.

The report mentions 99 cases of victims. Nine victims were kept in a psychiatric hospital for over a decade, and two were tortured five times.

In the mental hospital, critics were barred from contact with their families and suffered painful ordeals, including being electrocuted, beaten, and tied to beds for hours to days. They are also injected or forced to take psychotropic drugs, leaving lasting mental trauma, dementia, night terrors, tremors, and suicidal thoughts.

Most of the report’s victims were the ones petitioning China’s Letters and Calls Office. Human rights advocates, dissidents, and street protestors are also targeted and imprisoned.

The CCP imprisons them in mental hospitals to “quiet” them so they can’t petition, protest, or contact the media. After being released, they didn’t dare to speak up again. The critics were labeled “mentally sick,” disgracing their character and excluding them from normal society.

According to the report, there are three types of psychiatric hospitals in China. A different government body runs each type, but all of them abuse psychiatric care for political reasons. Most critics are detained at China’s “Ankang Hospital.” – the most common facility associated with China’s public security agencies for this purpose. Beijing’s Compulsory Treatment Management Office is one of them. 

Still, “Safeguard Defenders” reported that the persecution examples they collated are simply the tip of the iceberg. And that moving political prisoners to mental facilities is common practice in China.

Falun Gong practitioners are most mentally tortured.

An international human rights organization found that Falun Gong practitioners in China were also widely targeted for this “psychotropic drug abuse.”

Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual practice of meditative exercises and teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.

In 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched widespread persecution against Falun Gong practitioners across China after the communist regime feared that the practice’s immense popularity might threaten the regime’s authoritarian control of Chinese society.

Since then, millions of detained Falun Gong practitioners have been unlawfully detained, tortured, and killed for their organs.

The brutal crackdown on the practice is still ongoing in China.

The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong is a non-profit documenting Falun Gong’s persecution and the perpetrators involved. According to the organization’s report titled “Investigation Report on the Mental Persecution of Falun Gong Practitioners,” in April 2004, the CCP tortured many Falun Gong practitioners with psychotropic medicines.

From July 1999 to April 2004, at least 1,000 Falun Gong practitioners were kidnapped, and jailed in psychiatric hospitals, drug rehab facilities, and other institutions. They are forcibly injected or force-fed chemicals that harm the central nervous system. Some were blind in both eyes and deaf. At least 15 died due to psychotropic drug persecution.

The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong surveyed psychiatric facilities in 15 Chinese provinces. 83% of the surveyed psychiatric hospitals admitted that they had “admitted” Falun Gong practitioners in the past five years. More than half of the hospitals explicitly acknowledged that the so-called “admitted” Falun Gong practitioners did not have a mental illness but were forced to give up their faith and thrown into a mental hospital for torture.

During the investigation, a staff member of the Second Department of the Psychiatric Hospital of Liaoyang City said the hospital would utilize more than 10 persecution techniques, including psychiatric medicines, for Falun Gong practitioners who do not give up their practice.

A hospital worker in Shandong Province reported many Falun Gong patients were college students, grad students, and engineers. If Falun Gong practitioners don’t quit their belief, they’ll be drugged and tied up.

The study indicated that mental hospital employees utilized force-feeding, drug injection, electroshock, and other tactics to torture Falun Gong practitioners and routinely employed psychoactive medications like “Chlorpromazine.” Memory loss, severe headaches, stupor, physical weakness, severe brain malfunction, and systemic problems can result in the death of healthy people. 

Tan Guihua testified that she was kidnapped by “610” personnel during her appeal in Beijing in September 1999. She was taken to Jiaozhou City Mental Hospital. Eight male nurses used big needles to force-feed her unknown medications. As soon as the drug reached her body, her heart raced, her eyes darkened, and her headache split. Two months later, she trembled and couldn’t handle dishes or chopsticks. She also had heartache, headache, impaired vision, and memory loss.

Ye Hongfang of Heyuan, Guangdong, testified on November 26, 2000. She was forced to receive injections and medications every day in custody. And if she refused, she was tortured with an electric baton. Ye Hongfang experienced cramping, numbness, and blurred eyesight after taking the drug. Ye Hongfang’s spirit was near collapse after three months of torment.

A Falun Gong practitioner from Liaoning’s Dalian Port Authority alleged on March 3, 2004, that he was forced to take medicine while detained. Soon after he was discharged and returned home, his eyes, ears, scalp, neck, and other organs began to fester. It was itchy and painful. His wretched condition lasted two years.

Falun Gong practitioners from Suining County, Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, testified on June 8, 2001 that they were jailed at Xuzhou Mental Hospital for more than three months and forced to inject unknown medicines. Due to the overdose injection, the person fainted. When the drug attacked, the pain was intense and lasted for days. One practitioner was constricted and could not walk. He even hit the wall as his head suffered extreme pain. Various drug reactions lasted about 50 days before subsiding. 

According to the research, the Chinese government’s severe censorship and suppression of informants have covered up the torture and persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.

Liu Yinquan is a former Shandong Weifang University history professor and pro-democracy activist. In July, he told The Epoch Times that China’s slander and persecution of Falun Gong practitioners is inhumane. He said:

“The CCP is so afraid of truths like ‘Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.’ Its frantic persecution of groups that believe in ‘Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance’ shows that the CCP is an evil regime.”

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