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Wrongly institutionalized demand fairer diagnoses

(Xinhua)

08:14, October 11, 2012

BEIJING, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- Four people who claim to have been wrongly institutionalized have sent written pleas to hospitals and courts across China, demanding fairer diagnoses of mental diseases and greater scrutiny for patients' custodians.

"We are victims of incorrect diagnoses and ulterior intentions, but we do not want to complain. Complaints amount to nothing compared with our nightmares of being shackled and closely monitored in asylums," said "Wang Dan," an engineer who was institutionalized by her parents at a Beijing psychiatric hospital for three days in June.

Unhappy with the man she was dating, her parents broke into her apartment and forcibly took her to hospital with four men. The men are known for using violence to take uncooperative "patients" to the hospital.

Wang spent 72 hours shackled in a ward. After she was allowed to go home, she filed a lawsuit against her parents and the four men on charges of intrusion and illegal detention.

The court has yet to hear her case.

Wang said her parents have always been dominant and never respected her will. "So when I openly defied them, they thought I was insane."

She is not the only person who has been wrongly institutionalized by parents over defiance and other domestic disputes.

"Qin Lan," a defiant daughter who was institutionalized against her will for three months by her parents in her home province of Hebei, said she still felt unsafe even after she was married.

"I feared they might throw me into asylum again -- asylums can easily lock you up as long as they get paid," she said. "When I was there I heard an old woman say it was 'dark as hell.' She had been locked up for 10 years but I could tell she was clear-headed."

While living in the asylum, Qin said she was watched 24 hours a day, even when she was in the washroom. "I was not allowed to walk around freely. For most time of the day I was confined to bed."

Qin was one of the four victims who pleaded for medical and judicial facilities to make fairer judgments before issuing diagnoses.

"They should also doublecheck the identities and intentions of the alleged patients' custodians to see if the person truly has a mental illness or is simply receiving the brunt of their custodians' anger," she wrote in a letter that she had sent to more than 100 hospitals and courts as of Wednesday, Oct. 10, or World Mental Health Day.


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