What “Mental Illness” Really Means in a Communist Regime
(Minghui.org) Two dialogs took place in two different countries, and although they took place three decades apart, they are astonishingly and chillingly similar. The scene was all too common in psychiatric hospitals in the former Soviet Union and now in present-day China. The Soviet Communist Party (CPSU) and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) use psychiatric confinement as a method to persecute and punish political prisoners.
The first dialog was between a psychiatrist and dissident General Petro Grigorievich Grigorenko in the former Soviet Union. General Grigorenko was once involved in the Soviet Union's Great Patriotic War and other major battles. He had made meritorious contributions to the Soviet Red Army and received distinguished honors. However, because he dared to criticize Soviet leaders and the Soviet regime, he was persecuted by the KGB several times. The Soviet Communist Party authorities “diagnosed” him with “paranoid schizophrenia” and incarcerated him in a psychiatric hospital for many years. In 1971 he was transferred to Chernyakhovsk Prison Hospital, which was specifically set up for the "mentally ill." The following exchange took place during the referral.
When the doctor asked him whether he had changed his convictions, General Grigorenko replied, "Convictions are not like gloves; they are not easily changed."
The doctor said, “Then, you will need to continue your treatment.”
A similar exhange took place 30 years later between an investigator with the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) and a psychiatrist in China.
After the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started the persecution of Falun Gong, many examples of practitioners being subjected to psychiatric treatment as a mean of persecution came to light. WOIPFG investigated more than 100 hospitals in China and verified this fact. The following dialog took place between an investigator and a psychiatrist at Liaoyang Psychiatric Hospital:
Question: Have you treated Falun Gong practitioners?
Q: What if he doesn't have any symptoms of mental illness, but he says he still wants to practice [Falun Gong]?
R: That means he has symptoms of mental illness.
Q: What if he says it is a matter of belief, and he still wants to practice?
R: That is a typical paranoid.
Psychiatrists in both instances followed the same standard for diagnosing “mental illness,” that is: As long as [he] insists on his own opinions, he is a paranoid schizophrenic.
This diagnosis deviates from ethical psychiatric diagnostic criteria and procedures, and is clearly contrary to basic common sense and judgement. But it is a characteristic of the CPSU and CCP that abuse the practice of psychiatry to carry out political persecution.
Stalin claimed, “Dissidents are mentally ill.” Khrushchev elaborated, “There is no one in the Soviet Union who disagrees with the CPSU and the Soviet communist system, there are only the mentally ill.” The guiding ideology of the Soviet Communist Party leaders led to the incarceration of those dissidents who dared to express their dissatisfaction with the Party in mental hospitals in large areas of the Soviet Union. The CCP adopted the former Soviet Union's deviant tactics and took them to an extreme in its persecution campaign against Falun Gong.
What differentiates the political dissidents from Falun Gong practitioners is that practitioners are not concerned about politics. They remain steadfast in their belief in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and there are many of them. With a premonition of an impending crisis of losing ideological control, the CCP panicked before it even began its frenzied persecution. From the time the persecution began right up until today, a very important aspect of the CCP's overwhelming slander is that it tries very hard to portray Falun Gong practitioners as mentally ill.
Actually, in private, personnel within the Soviet Communist Party and the CCP admit that the Falun Gong “patients” are not actually mentally ill. They are mentally sane but have been taken to mental hospitals for political reasons. One KGB colonel directly told an officer, “He has never suffered from any mental illness, but he is anti-Soviet, and he is not in favor of the policy made by the political bureau. ... Once he goes for 'psychiatric treatment,' they will make him a lunatic.”
Similarly, when WOIPFG investigators asked psychiatrists in more than 100 hospitals in China, most doctors explicitly stated that they were carrying out a political task. They knew that the drugs they used have serious toxic effects, but they still used them on a large scale. They can't afford not to because they don't want to lose their jobs. When asked when the Falun Gong practitioners would be allowed to be discharged, the doctors said, “He has to change his understanding and write a 'statement of repentance.'” Obviously, the doctors don't think these Falun Gong practitioners are paranoid, because it is illogical and against common sense to expect psychiatric patients to sign 'a guarantee statement' and 'statement of repentance.' It also confirms that the CCP has used psychiatric confinement to persecute Falun Gong practitioners.
The CPSU dissidents were forced to undergo high doses of antipsychotic “treatment” drugs and some people ended up truly suffering from mental disorders as a result. Many Falun Gong practitioners were forced into mental hospitals and drug rehabilitation centers, were they were injected with or force-fed drugs that damage their central nervous system, or subjected to electric shocks and other physical abuses. Some of them have become severely injured physically or become mentally disordered, and some have even died.
There is a close similarity to the approaches adopted by the CCP and the CPSU in implementing their political persecutions, with the CCP implementing it to the extreme. However, once it began, the collapse of the Soviet Union was instantaneous, and so, likewise, is the CCP doomed.
Those psychiatrists and media workers who spread the CCP's slander that practicing Falun Gong will make people suffer “mental illnesses” have followed the CCP closely in the persecution. However, it is their own ultimate fate that is most worrisome and unfortunate.