The Psychiatric “Warehouses” Situation in China

October 13, 2007 3 By Tad Reeves

I came across this story on  Flickr, browsing through photos of China:   (Full story is here)

BEIJING-SEPTEMBER-15:Wang Lanrong,54, a schizophrenic ,is confined to her bed a week before she passes away..Wang ‘s disease was triggered during the cultural revolution when she was sent to the countryside with the red guards.She spent her life since the sevenites in several mental institutions .Wang’s condition worsened in early 2003 as she could not digest food anymore and she passed away in Septemeber as her family refused to pay for adequate health care .

As a result of China’s economic reforms, the old socialist system has crumbled and health care has become a rarity. Eighty percent of Chinese do not benefit from health insurance and if one is suffering from long term mental diseases like schizophrenia and depression they can become a financial burden to their families. Treatment in state-owned hospitals, which charge up to $500/per month (USD), is a luxury that most patients cannot afford. In a conformist country like China, mental patients are strongly stigmatized, which is another reason that many families rather prefer to “get rid” of their sick patients. These days, in cities like Beijing, the majority of patients end up in privately-run institutions, founded by nurses and retired psychiatrists. Although, well-intended, such places lack the financial and professional means to give adequate care to mental patients. Patients are treated by some nurses from the countryside who did a “crash course” in psychiatry treatment. Medicine is too expensive. There is no regular money flow so places have to move from one location to the next. There is a lack of knowledge about fundraising, and diseases are not treated properly because there are barley enough psychiatrists available. In Beijing, such places are referred to as “warehouses” where patients live for years, in some cases until the end of their lives.

I’ve long been apprised of the psychiatric abominations that befall people around the world – especially in hellish psychiatric facilities in Russia, Italy and the U.S. – but this is the first I have heard of such a situation in China.  It stands to reason that a country with such suppression on religious freedom as well as suppression of Internet freedom (see brilliant article on the setup of their Internet censorship engine), would also be bent toward complete suppression of human rights in institutions such as this.

Anti-Psychiatry Demonstration in Washington, D.C.Of course, in countries like the USA, it’s guaranteed by our constitution that we have a right to protest such conditions.  Organizations like the Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights and the Church of Scientology organize to get people informed on the atrocities which go on behind closed doors, and bring them out in the open so that they can be stopped.

I’ve even been asked on some occasions why it is that Scientologists are so opposed to psychiatry.  Personally, I think that sort of a question is sort of like asking why it would be immoral to put an open beartrap in the middle of a preschool classroom.  But okay, some people might not know what actually goes on in psychiatric wards, and might think it was just something that happened back in the 60’s and that we’re  more civilized than that now.

If you think that, then there’s a video you should probably watch, which you can get off the website.

Even in the USA, forced abduction from homes, forced drugging, forced shock treatment, all billed to tax money you pay, and insurance fraud of a magnitude that would make any attorney blush.

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