Psychiatric Abuses in China

Patients at a mental health facility in Shaanxi Province, China

You’d have to be crazy to oppose an authoritarian government—or so Chinese officials want citizens of the People’s Republic to believe. Psychiatric abuses have become a regular feature of life in China, according to a report by the Hong Kong–based advocacy group Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD). The abuses consist of violations of the human rights of those who are deemed to have a mental disability or psychological disorder. The CHRD’s report, “The Darkest Corners,” details such abuses as involuntary commitment to psychiatric institutions of individuals whose only “disorder” may be that they questioned in some way the doings of the Chinese government. In one case, a man who took pictures of a protest was committed to a psychiatric hospital because his actions—taking photographs—supposedly “disturbed public order.”

Dissidents in China like Jin Guanghong have been detained, force-fed medications, and prohibited from seeing family or legal counsel. An estimated 800,000 psychiatric commitments occur each year in China. Too often, the individuals committed are not mentally ill at all. Persons subjected to such abuses as involuntary commitment have little or no legal protection. Mere allegations by family members, employers, or even police officials are often enough to result in incarceration.

The CHRD is urging the Chinese government to pass a Mental Health Law—that would extend human rights protections to the mentally ill and comply with international norms. China is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, which states that “persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life.” United Nations officials will be visiting China in September to evaluate the country’s compliance with the convention—shining a spotlight on China’s mental health system.

Image Credit: © China Photos/Getty Images

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  1. Badger says:

    Wow. Chinese=mean.

  2. potatoman_swim says:

    i like potatoes very much but how does this story make top headlines?

  3. hailey says:

    that is so mean im crying

    • Mhd says:

      yes i am an LPN/LVN , and i worked as a psych nnoesurt sure where you received that infobut not true, unless it was for a certain postition that requires that(maybe that was just that one postion)but in reality a RN with a 2 year Asssociates degree can alsowork on a psych unitas well as a CNAgood luck

  4. dex says:

    that afull

  5. DOOM says:

    The question is why hasn’t any one stept in before.

    • Muhammad says:

      Yes, with your BSN you can EASILY get hired to work in a psych ward. (same as if you have your ADN). Just as if you were going into any other field in nursing a MSN isn’t neeedd for an entry position in this area.

  6. person says:


  7. j.bradley says:


  8. :) says:

    how sad. i feel so bad for them

  9. Anonymous says:

    That’s not right 🙁