(Clearwidsom.net) The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) and China Mental Health Watch, two international human rights organizations, have thoroughly investigated the reports of psychiatric abuse of Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese authorities. The results of the investigation reveal an appalling aspect of the persecution.

The investigations showed that during the nearly five years of the persecution of Falun Gong, cases of psychiatric abuse of Falun Gong practitioners were spread throughout 23 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities in China; at least a hundred mental hospitals at the district, county, city, and provincial levels have been involved in the persecution. The number of cases and their broad distribution indicated that the psychiatric abuse of Falun Gong practitioners was a planned, systematized policy from the highest governmental levels down to the lowest. At present over one thousand mentally sound Falun Gong practitioners are locked in mental hospitals and drug rehabilitation centers, many of them receiving forced injections or drugs that damage the central nervous system. They have also suffered tortures such as being tied up and shocked with electric batons. At least 15 practitioners have died as a result of torture and abuse while held in mental hospitals..

In April of this year, WOIPFG and the non-governmental organization, China Mental Health Watch, investigated over 100 mental hospitals from 15 provinces in China using a random selection process. Those which definitely admitted having accepted Falun Gong practitioners accounted for 83% of the total hospitals investigated; 50% of the hospitals admitted to having detained non-mentally ill Falun Gong practitioners just to force them to give up their belief. Some hospitals even admitted that sending these practitioners to mental hospitals was illegal. Analysis of the research data, including statements by medical workers, indicated that most of China's mental hospitals have been involved in the systematic persecution of Falun Gong practitioners through the use of unwarranted psychiatric treatment and violence.

The WOIPFG stated that "psychiatric treatment" for practitioners consists of attempting to force them to give up their belief in Falun Gong. The investigation showed that the medical workers regarded admitting Falun Gong practitioners as a political mission to fulfill, and that they used practitioners' written guarantees to give up practicing Falun Gong as the standard to evaluate the "effect of treatment" and "readiness for hospital discharge." The status of many victims was both "prisoner" and "patient," and they were frequently transferred from prisons to brainwashing classes to the mental hospital. Victims were most often sent to mental hospitals before so-called "sensitive" days (1) or after having gone to appeal for Falun Dafa in public. Sometimes whole groups of Falun Gong practitioners were sent to mental hospitals. These actions are convincing evidence that the Chinese authorities' "psychiatric treatment" of Falun Gong practitioners is a persecution aimed at eliminating practitioners' beliefs.

The WOIPFG claimed that these hospitals and medical personnel definitely knew that the practitioners abducted and brought to their mental hospital were normal people and definitely knew that Falun Gong was a personal belief; but they still drugged them, in severe violation of the psychiatric code of ethics. In addition, overdoses of drugs were often used, which usually led to severe mental and physical damage. According to specialists, administering overdoses of a drug would lead to destructive and irreversible consequences, even endangering life and safety. The evidence showed that victims' health was severely harmed after being "forcibly treated," even losing their memory in some cases. The chairman of China Mental Health Watch and mental health specialist, Viviana Galli, said that many previously normal Falun Gong practitioners became listless, lost consciousness or their memory, and were even on the brink of death after being "psychiatrically treated" with large doses of drugs, sleep deprivation, and other techniques used in brainwashing.

On November 21, 2003, China Mental Health Watch published a report of the preliminary investigation of Falun Gong practitioners who suffered tortures in Chinese labor camps and who were later rescued and allowed to move to foreign countries. That report showed that, although they have lived in free and democratic countries for two or three years, they still exhibit post-traumatic stress symptoms, including nightmares and disturbed sleep. Their memory of past suffering and reaction to and avoidance of things that remind them of their traumatic experiences severely affects their overall health and ability to live a normal life.

The investigations also showed that many police stations, prisons, detention centers, and other law-enforcement agencies in China were directly involved in the psychiatric abuse of Falun Gong practitioners. Some victims' families actually sent their loved ones to a mental hospital when the police threatened them with "either a mental hospital or a forced labor camp," thereby unwittingly worsening the persecution.

The WOIPFG stressed that because of the tremendous scope of the abuse and the great number of victims involved, many hospitals are not exposing the real situation, and the Chinese authorities are blocking all information regarding psychiatric treatment. Consequently, the actual situation could be more severe than the reported results indicate.

The WOIPFG appeals to all related international organizations to pay close attention to the gravity of this situation, and to take definite measures to prevent these state-sanctioned, brutal acts of psychiatric abuse towards Falun Gong practitioners.

Note: For further details please see the website of WOIPFG (http://www.upholdjustice.org)

(1) "Sensitive" days: national holidays or national political meetings.