Update on SARS whistleblower Jiang Yanyong and AIDS activist Hu Jia

Update: For more on Yanyong’s arrest, see this post.

If true, this sounds totally despicable:

Chinese police have ordered the family of 30-year-old Hu Jia, the AIDS campaigner, to place him in a psychiatric institution for evaluation and treatment or said that they would forcibly do so, said Human Rights in China, which is based in New York and Hong Kong.

“Hu Jia is facing the prospect of China’s dreaded ‘judicial psychiatry,’ a means of persecuting dissidents and removing them from public circulation, sometimes permanently,” the group said.

“This constitutes using psychiatric treatment as a form of torture and political persecution.”

Hu’s parents saw no sign of mental abnormality in him and were aware that psychiatric treatment had been forced upon a number of dissidents and religious practitioners, sometimes resulting in them becoming mentally unstable, it said.

The same article says that Human Rights Watch is demanding that China free Dr. Jiang Yanyong, the famous SARS whistleblower who was arrested along with his wife last week and held incommunicado ever since.

“Chinese authorities should immediately release Dr. Jiang Yanyong,” the New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a statement. Jiang was detained along with his wife, Hua Zhongwei, while en route to the U.S. Embassy on June 1 to get a visa, it said.

In February, Jiang wrote a letter to China’s Parliament, the National People’s Congress, and other leaders giving details of what he witnessed in 1989 when the army shot its way into the center of Beijing to clear protesters off Tiananmen Square.

“China wants to project an image of progress and rule of law, but Dr. Jiang’s arbitrary detention shows that this government is not bound by constraints – save protecting itself,” said Sam Zarifi, deputy head of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch.

Zarifi’s point is well taken, and it’s a shame. It’s even a deeper shame that in recent weeks America’s government has shown that under Bush, sometimes we’re not much better, at least in terms of our government’s ruthlessness in quashing criticism.

It’s really too bad, because it makes it very hard for the US to point fingers at human rights violators without having the charge thrown back in its face, with evidence provided by the Bush administration.

The Discussion: One Comment

Unfortunately the idea of locking dissidents in mental hospitals and torturing them isn’t new, but I didn’t know that it was still going on in China.

I’ve heard stories about America (and Russia) pumping comunists and civil rights actavists full of LSD and running 240 volts throught their heads in experiments during the sixties, to see if they could wipe people memories (and it worked), I suppose that this is merely the modern day version of that.

Tell everybody that an actavist is bananas, and then fill them full of drugs until they are bananas.

Oh how I love the Chinese Government.

June 11, 2004 @ 12:55 am | Comment

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