Chinese dissident exposes human rights abuses

2nd November 2005, Comments 0 comments

2 November 2005, BEIJING - A freed dissident has exposed brutality and other abuses in China's police-run psychiatric units, where he was detained for 13 years after attempting to protest in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, a human rights group said on Wednesday.

2 November 2005

BEIJING - A freed dissident has exposed brutality and other abuses in China's police-run psychiatric units, where he was detained for 13 years after attempting to protest in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, a human rights group said on Wednesday.

Wang Wanxing was allowed to join his wife and daughter in Germany after police released him in August from a Beijing psychiatric unit, with a warning that he would be recaptured if he spoke about his experiences, New York-based Human Rights Watch said.

Wang, 56, was detained in 1992 for attempting to display a banner demanding a reassessment of the ruling Communist Party's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in June 1989.

He was diagnosed as suffering from "paranoid psychosis" or "political monomania" and prescribed daily drugs, according to the group's translation of a report sent to the German government one week before Wang's release.

"When the topic of conversation turns to politics... his [mental] activities are still characterized by delusions of grandeur, litigation mania, and a conspicuously enhanced pathological will," the medical report said.

Wang was able to speak out as the first known inmate of the Ankang ("secure and healthy") police psychiatric system to be exiled from China, out of an estimated 3,000 or more political detainees held in the units since the early 1980s, Human Rights Watch said.

He detailed many instances of brutality against other inmates, including one who was "admitted to the Ankang for persistent petitioning activities" and went on hunger strike.

The petitioner choked to death when other inmates force-fed him under orders from the staff, who reported that he died from a heart attack, Wang was quoted as saying.

Wang was released briefly in August 1999, but was re-arrested and sent back to the Beijing Ankang three months later when he said he planned to discuss his experiences in the psychiatric unit with foreign journalists.

Wang was one of three former Ankang inmates interviewed by German weekly magazine Die Zeit for a story in its November 3 edition.

Die Zeit also highlights the cases of a rural rights activist who was detained for nearly seven months at an Ankang in the eastern city of Hangzhou and "subjected to frequent physical and mental torture".

The other former inmate interviewed by Die Zeit, a shoe factory worker, was detained at an Ankang in the northwestern city of Xi'an for 10 years after she tried to expose nepotism at the factory, the newspaper said.

Chinese police have also used psychiatric detention to intimidate and punish Falun Gong practitioners since the spiritual movement was banned in 1999, Human Rights Watch said.

Wang's testimony "highlights the fate of hundreds of other political detainees forced into psychiatric care in China for no good medical reason", Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

"It is time for China's leaders to decide that their 'modernization' drive should include an end to barbaric practices such as using psychiatric facilities and medically unnecessary drugs to punish those with different political views," Adams said.

The Ankang system allowed police to detain some 75,000 people in 22 regional psychiatric units for the criminally insane from 1987 to 1997, according to a report on the website of the government-run China Disabled Persons Federation.

DPA

Subject: German news

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