Image: Foundry Co / Pixabay
By Tess Langbroek
Safeguard Defenders, a human rights NGO, has published a new report titled “Drugged and detained: China’s psychiatric prisons” about the political misuse of psychiatry in China against dissidents.
These psychiatric malpractice include beatings, being tied to a bed, forced medication, mystery drugs, electroconvulsive therapy, being held incommunicado, locked up with no time limit, and repeated incarcerations.
This report collected data from ninety-nine victims, representing 144 cases between 2015 to 2021, in 109 hospitals in 21 provinces, municipalities, or regions in China.
In 1988 China established a system called ‘Ankang asylums’ (安康 peace and health), a network of Ministry of Public Security-run psychiatric facilities for the “criminally insane”. The police still use the Ankang system to punish political dissidents.
Stability maintenance (维稳), the detention of people China sees a challenge to its power — is the main drive behind the widespread political abuse of psychiatry.