In the PRC’s psychiatric wards, Falun Gong practitioners are regularly injected with unknown psychotropic drugs in toxic doses. Some victims report having been used as guinea pigs and falling into prolonged periods of hallucinations after being injected. Others have suffered severe damage to their central nervous system from the injections. Yet others – mentally healthy when forced into the hospital for political reasons – became deranged after being “treated” there.
Psychiatric abuses of people insisting on views not in accord with that of the Communist Party, are well documented and have been ongoing under the current regime for decades. Organisations such as the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), Human Rights Watch, and the Geneva Psychiatric Treatment Committee have reported on it. The WPA sought to investigate the abuses of Falun Gong in Chinese mental wards but has been repeatedly denied access.
Torture in mental hospitals serves two primary purposes for the Communist Party. First, it aims to discredit Falun Gong by making its adherents appear demented. Second, it allows for severe forms of punishment and a potential solution for handling those viewed as hardcore adherents who stubbornly refuse to transform. The tools of psychiatry – including electric shock, sedatives, and other drugs – are turned on Falun Gong detainees as a means of torture and manipulation.
“After travelling to Beijing on April 25th to protest for the ban on Falun Gong, he was arrested again; on May 23rd, his employer, a state-run petrochemical company, approved commitment papers that authorised the police to admit him to a mental hospital. According to Mr Su’s father, the doctors injected Mr Su twice a day with an unknown substance. When Mr Su emerged a week later, he could not eat or move his limbs normally. He died ten days later.”
- Washington Post, 23 June 2000
Beyond the asylum’s walls, these methods have found their way into the hands of police and prison guards. Amnesty International has reported how one Beijing police spokesman connected to these hospitals, when questioned about these abuses, explained: “They are not patients, they are here to be re-educated … Most of them are Falun Gong extremists who have been to Beijing to protest.”
Much groundbreaking work in exposing this abuse of psychiatry has been carried out by Robin Munro. In his 2006 book, China’s Psychiatric Inquisition: Dissent, Psychiatry and the Law in Post-1949 China, Munro dedicates a chapter to the issue of psychiatric persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
We were held in the Xuzhou City Mental Hospital for over three months. We were forcibly tied to a bed and the so-called medical staff gave us injections and forced “medicine” down our throats. They injected us with unknown drugs as well. We passed out and were unconscious shortly after receiving the injections. When the injections were taking effect, we suffered from extreme pain. It was so severe that we writhed in pain, cried out miserably, and slammed ourselves against walls in a desperate attempt to knock ourselves unconscious in order to be rid of the pain.
After the injections’ effect wore off, we questioned the medical staff, “Why did you give injections and other harmful substances to us even though we are perfectly healthy?” They replied with shame, “We have no choice. It’s per 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 job.” - Testimony of a Falun Gong practitioner from Xuzhou City (from Investigative Report on Spiritual Persecution of Falun Gong Practitioners)