Gu Xianghong languishes in an “Ankang,” a special Chinese psychiatric hospital run by police, Radio Free Asia reports. In a video quoted by RFA, Gu says, “They put electrodes on my temples and they were burned black. They handcuffed me and chained my feet . . . My [entire family] and home have been ruined by the village government.” They also subjected her to injections against her will. According to the report, Gu has been jailed nine times in the Ankang since 1992.
Leaders of a Hubei-based human rights group, Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch, videotaped Gu from inside the Ankang and smuggled the video to Radio Free Asia. The Rights group is mounting a campaign called “Mental Hospitals SOS,” to call attention to official psychiatric abuse in China.
Why has Gu repeatedly been jailed and tortured in an Ankang? She sued the local government over “family planning issues.”
This is another example of the fact that the coercive enforcement of China’s One Child Policy causes more violence against women and girls than any other official policy on earth. This violence takes the form of forced abortion, forced sterilization, infanticide, gendercide, sexual slavery and female suicide. Now add to this grim list: psychiatric torture for those who dare to challenge family planning abuses.
Gu is not the first person the Chinese Communist Party has jailed to silence them on family planning abuses. Blind activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Chen Guangcheng exposed the fact that there were 130,000 forced abortions and sterilizations in Linyi County, Shandong Province, in 2005. For this, he served a four year, three month jail sentence, during which time he was severely beaten and denied medical treatment. He now remains under house arrest. To read a dozen expert reports documenting atrocities committed in the name of the One Child Policy, submitted in connection with the Congressional hearing on the One Child Policy of November 10, 2009, click here: http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/index.php?nav=congressional
According to reports by Human Rights Watch and others, in China, psychiatric abuse is shockingly common against dissidents, who are jailed and silenced under the guise of psychiatric treatment. In one well-known case, Wang Wanxing was held in an Ankang for 13 years, for staging a brief, one-man pro-democracy protest on Tiananmen Square on the third anniversary of the massacre there. He was released unexpectedly in 2005 and sent to Germany, where he was evaluated by a team of psychiatric experts, who found no mental disorder. Wang told Human Rights Watch about the conditions he had endured. He stated, for example, that he had been forced to watch staff members administer “electric acupuncture treatments” in which the current used was excruciating. One inmate died of a heart attack during such a “treatment.”
According to a recent Epoch Times article, the Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group submitted a report to the United Nations, setting forth 1088 cases of psychiatric torture used against Falun Gong practitioners.
Meanwhile, like countless others deemed to be destabilizing influences by the Chinese Communist Party, Gu remains imprisoned in a psychiatric torture chamber. The brave Chinese human rights defenders who brought her case to the world are themselves victimized by local officials, who chased them as they escaped the Ankang with Gu’s videotape.
Gu should be released, immediately, along with all others trapped in Ankangs all over China, not because they have mental health issues, but simply to silence or break them. Psychiatric abuse of One Child Policy victims, and of all others that the Chinese Communist Party views as a political threat, must stop.
Author’s Note: Here are links to articles and reports relevant to this Op-Ed.
“Campaign Targets Psychiatric Abuse,” 10/27/10, Radio Free Asia
“Torture and Cruel Treatment in Health Settings,” [Undated] Human Rights Watch
“China: No Medical Reason to Hold Dissident,” 3/17/06, Human Rights Watch
China: Political Prisoner Exposes Brutality in Police-Run Mental Hospital,” 11/2/05, Human Rights Watch
“Chinese Police Inadvertently Admit Psychiatric Abuses,” The Epoch Times, 5/30/10
“Database Opens to Track Psychiatric Abuse in China,” 10/13/09, The Epoch Times
“Psychiatric Torture of Falun Gong Practitioners Widespread, Sas UN Submission,” Falun Dafa Information Center, 3/25/10