On October 9, one day before the commemoration of World Mental Health Day, a Chinese dissident named Jie Lijian staged a demonstration with others showing how the CCP tortures patients in psychiatric hospitals. The protest was held at the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California.
Jie demonstrated and explained to the public the different types of torture he suffered while in one of these “mental prisons” in China. Electric shocks, cigarette burns, repeated beatings, and hooks in the mouth. All this while handcuffed and hanging from a bar. During the exhibition and he wailed, “The CCP uses triads and terror to persecute everyone. Are you afraid? Are we going to stand up and destroy the CCP? If we don’t destroy it, you are all victims. The CCP is the source of all evil!”
Among the photos on display at the demonstration was that of Dong Yaoqiong, a young Chinese girl who became known for throwing ink on a portrait of Xi Jinping. since that is not a crime, the authorities committed her to a psychiatric hospital and even after two years, her status is unknown. The young woman’s father, Dong Jianbiao, who was imprisoned for defending his daughter, died there. His body showed possible evidence of torture.
The Chinese activist, now exiled in the U.S., said that these psychiatric hospitals are used by the Chinese communist regime as detention and torture chambers against dissidents. Jie was detained three times in this type of facility.
In a report for Radio Free Asia, he said that after filing a petition over a land dispute, the authorities detained him in a psychiatric hospital in Jinan City, Huaimeng District. In 2007 he was detained again for 20 days and reported that his son was pressured to force him to cancel the petition.
Again in 2018, police arrested him for demanding the release of arrested students and workers who were advocating for the protection of labor rights in Guangdong Jiashi. He stayed three days in prison and then was sent to Corning Hospital in Shenzhen City for “forced hospitalization and forced treatment” for 52 days.
Jie describes this place as “the largest Auschwitz concentration camp built in China in the 21st century.”
As the activist tells it, the scariest part of being detained in a psychiatric hospital was the electric shock treatment.
He said, “When you turn on the power, it feels like you are dead, your brain seems to be fixed, bound by restraints, and your wrists, legs and ankles, belly and neck are all tied together. As soon as the energy is turned on, your body will jump…. don’t know how I survived.”
Jie said the electric shocks lasted for an hour and everyone subjected to this torture would faint. Hospital staff forced other inmates to watch the scene, a further means of intimidation.
The uncertainty of not knowing when he would regain his freedom added to the agony of the torture he suffered, as there is no legal time limit for internment, so the authorities can keep them as long as they wish.
During the interview he said that of the totality of those interned in his ward, 80% were dissidents, petitioners, Falun Gong practitioners and Christians.
No diagnosis and no legal basis
The confinement of dissidents in psychiatric hospitals has been a tool widely used by the Chinese regime, especially against those for whom no legal cause can be found. As in the case of Falun Gong practitioners.
Amnesty International received testimony from a Beijing police representative whose work is connected to psychiatric hospitals. He stated, “They are not patients, they are here to be re-educated. Most of them are Falun Gong extremists who have been in Beijing to protest.”
Liu Yong was one of these “extremists.” After the start of illegal persecution in 1999 by the Chinese regime, tens of thousands of practitioners have mobilized to Beijing to claim their right to freedom of belief and to seek justice for those wrongfully imprisoned.
In 2001, Liu, 30 years old at the time, was imprisoned and sent to Baoding psychiatric hospital. For not renouncing his faith, he was in that facility for at least 12 years until 2013. His condition is unknown at this time. Reports revealed that at least 24 Falun Gong practitioners died in that hospital.
Testimonies speak of the fact that apart from the dreaded electric shocks, inmates are injected with unknown psychotropic drugs, so they hallucinate for prolonged periods of time. The after-effects of these drugs are manifested in severe damage to the central nervous system, and in many cases, mentally healthy inmates are left mentally disturbed after these forced treatments.
Next is the testimony of a Falun Gong practitioner from Xuzhou City, included in a World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong report:
“We were detained in the psychiatric hospital in Xuzhou City for more than three months. We were forcibly tied to a bed and the so-called medical staff gave us injections and forced us to swallow “medicine.” They also injected us with unknown drugs. We passed out and became unconscious shortly after receiving the injections.
“As the injections were taking effect, we suffered extreme pain. It was so severe that we writhed in pain, screamed miserably and slammed ourselves against the walls in a desperate attempt to become unconscious to get rid of the pain.
“After the effect of the injections wore off, we asked the medical staff, ‘Why did you give us injections and other harmful substances even though we are perfectly healthy?” They replied with embarrassment, “We have no choice. It is by instructions from above. We have to obey our leaders if we want to keep our jobs. We don’t want to treat you this way, but we don’t want to lose our jobs.”
Possibly, and thanks to their kindness, the practitioners will forgive them … but perhaps the cosmos will not.