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Political misuse of psychiatry in China

By Tess Langbroek

August 22, 2022

Image: Foundry Co / Pixabay

Safeguard Defenders, a human rights NGO, has published a new report titled "Drugged and detained: China's psychiatric prisons" about the political misuse of psychiatry in China against dissidents.

These psychiatric malpractice include beatings, being tied to a bed, forced medication, mystery drugs, electroconvulsive therapy, being held incommunicado, locked up with no time limit, and repeated incarcerations.

This report collected data from ninety-nine victims, representing 144 cases between 2015 to 2021, in 109 hospitals in 21 provinces, municipalities, or regions in China.

In 1988 China established a system called 'Ankang asylums' (安康 peace and health), a network of Ministry of Public Security-run psychiatric facilities for the "criminally insane". The police still use the Ankang system to punish political dissidents.

Stability maintenance (维稳), the detention of people China sees a challenge to its power — is the main drive behind the widespread political abuse of psychiatry.


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