Report: China psychiatric facilities detaining patients involuntarily in violation of human rights

[JURIST] Chinese psychiatric facilities are detaining hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens against their will each year, and many detainees face abuse and human rights violations in the facilities, a human rights group said in a report [text, PDF; press release, PDF] released on Wednesday. The report by Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) [advocacy website] alleges that Chinese psychiatric facilities regularly detain individuals against their will, deferring to the judgment of the person who requested the commitment. The committing parties are essentially given guardianship over the committed without a hearing to determine competency, in violation of Chinese law. The report further alleges that individuals detained in the psychiatric facilities are frequently subjected to human rights abuses, including forced treatment and physical abuse. The rights group said that officials in the facilities are rarely held accountable for these abuses. CHRD called on the Chinese government to take action to prevent continued involuntary detention of citizens, including passing a law that specifically prohibits involuntary commitment. They also called on the government to ensure legal accountability for individuals who illegally detain and abuse patients.

Human rights groups and have expressed concern in the past about illegal detention in China. In June Human Rights Watch reported that China's chengguan, a para-police organization charged with enforcing non-criminal administrative regulations, is abusing its power [JURIST report]. The report indicated that although the chengguan are not authorized to arrest citizens or use excessive force, they frequently do both. In March China's National People's Congress (NPC) passed a law [JURIST report] allowing police to detain certain suspects for up to six months in secret detention facilities commonly known as "black jails."In July 2010 Amnesty International urged [JURIST report] the Chinese government to launch an independent investigation into law enforcement conduct during the July 2009 Xinjiang riots [JURIST news archive], accusing police of executing arbitrary arrests and employing excessive force.

 

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