Hubei: Psychiatric Harassment of Rights Activist

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CRD Deplores Psychiatric Harassment of Rights Activist
Government should investigate PSB abuse

For immediate release

CRD Deplores Psychiatric Harassment of Rights Activist

(CRD, April 4, 2007) – Psychiatric persecution has continued as a cruel form of intimidation and punishment for outspoken activists and political dissidents. The case of Wang Guoqiang (汪国强), a local rights activist in Wuhan, provides yet another piece of evidence. In this case, “psychiatric unfitness” is used to harass and discredit an activist and to deprive him of the right to defend human rights. Mr. Wang has been labeled as being psychiatrically unfit by doctors who performed “tests” at the request of the police. This form of harassment, intimidation, and retaliation deserves continuous international scrutiny. Previous criticisms of psychiatric detention and mistreatment by international human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have been vehemently denied by the Chinese government.

Earlier this year, acting as a citizens’ representative (公民代理人), Wang Guoqiang filed a request with the city government office for an “administrative review” (行政复议)on behalf of a Wuhan resident involved in a case, which the resident considered to have been unfairly handled by officials. On March 21, 2007, Mr. Wang received a “Notification for Administrative Review” from the Wuhan Municipal Office of Rule by Law (法制办公室) in Hubei Province. The Notification, dated February 13, stated that Mr. Wang was “unfit to file an administrative review on his own” and he “is incapable of acting” as the client’s “authorized representative;” if there is any need to file a review, it must be filed by Mr. Wang’s “legal guardian or appointed guardian.” (See Attachment 1)

In the notification, the city government cited as its evidence and basis for its decision a “Judicial Psychiatric Certificate of Authenticity Issued by the Wuhan Municipal Psychiatric Hospital,” which the government said was received from the municipal Public Security Bureau.

This “Judicial Psychiatric Certificate of Authenticity,” signed by four doctors from the hospital’s “Office of Judicial Psychiatric Certification”, revealed that the PSB’s Traffic Regulation Unit, where Mr. Wang once worked, had authorized the Office to conduct this examination of Mr. Wang. The PSB gave as the reason for this request that Mr. Wang was suspected of “Looking for Trouble and Causing Disturbances” (寻衅滋事). The examination, conducted on September 14, 2006, concluded that Mr. Wang was diagnosed with two psychiatric conditions: “1. Narcissism personality disorder, and 2. paranoid.”

What makes this most absurd is the fact that such an examination was conducted without Mr. Wang’s knowing or being actually examined by the doctors. The doctors reached the conclusion on the basis of documents and descriptions provided by the PSB. The “evidence” for Mr. Wang’s psychiatric conditions, as stated in the certificate, included:

(1) Mr. Wang’s petitioning action of visiting the State Letters and Visit Office and other central government offices in Beijing in August 2006 (before he was arrested and escorted back to Wuhan by local police who had being summoned to Beijing by the Beijing PSB);

(2) Mr. Wang’s self-nomination as candidate, his public campaign for election (giving out flyers to tell voters about himself), and his attempt to supervise vote-counting which he suspected of being manipulated by local officials, during the local election for deputies to the local People’s Congress in September 2006;

And (3), reports from Mr. Wang’s former colleagues at the PSB’s traffic unit that he was “introspective,” “a loner,” “un-social,” but “loves to read books.”

The doctors stated that because of his abnormal psychiatric conditions, Mr. Wang “acts without the ability to judge and control his own behavior.” (See Attachment 2)

In the last several years, Mr. Wang has been providing voluntary legal assistance to fellow citizens. He and some other activists helped residents of this central-China metropolitan city, Wuhan, to file lawsuits against government authorities for infringing upon various legal rights. He had taken up dozens of cases, including lawsuits about the charging of illegal fees, chronically delayed trains and the posting of untruthful advertisements. The defendants in these lawsuits included the Wuhan Municipal Public Security Bureau, the Municipal Bureau in Charge of Setting Prices, the Jianghan District Court, a bank in the city and the Bureau of Transportation Regulation. Due to his efforts, some local government departments were forced to admit their errors and changed their unfair practices and regulations. For example, the Wuhan traffic police used to force drivers who violated traffic rules to attend a training workshop, while charging the driver hefty fees for attending. The fees were eliminated due to Mr. Wang’s successful effort to bring this government office to court. Success made Mr. Wang a media celebrity in Chinese official press and in international press. Reports about his activities appeared in Xinhua, the Southern Weekend, the Legal Daily, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Retaliation by local officials followed. On March 14, 2006, Mr. Wang was detained for 10 days by the Jiangan District Court in Wuhan City. The court gave the cause as “secret recording and video-typing in courtroom without permission.” (For the detention order, see Attachment 3). In September 2006, Mr. Wang ran for election to the local People’s Congress. On election day, he was brutally beaten by police, injured, and hospitalized. After he came out of the hospital, police put him under house arrest to prevent him from “disrupting the election.”

CRD understands that Mr. Wang has a graduate degree (MA) and used to be a senior police officer. After he was forced to retire, Mr. Wang operated as an independent activist using the platform of his website China Supervision Web: Other activists who are familiar with his work consider Mr. Wang to be reasonable, wise, and independent-minded with an unbending sense of justice.

CRD deplores the use of “psychiatric unfitness” to harass human rights activists and justify deprivation of their right to defend human rights. CRD urges the Wuhan City Government to investigate the legality of the Wuhan Municipal PSB’s abuse of power in mandating “psychiatric tests” for Mr. Wang without his consent (nor his knowledge). CRD believes that the Wuhan City government’s office of administrative review should not use the PSB’s “psychiatric unfitness certificate” as evidence to deprive Mr. Wang’s legal right to act as citizen representative in administrative lawsuit. China as a party to the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders has obligations to ensure that human rights defenders can exercise their right to defend human rights without fear for their own personal safety and freedom.


Notification of Administrative Review
Psychiatric Certificate
PSB Detention Decision

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CRD is a non-political, non-government network of grassroots and international activists working to advance human rights protection in the PRC. Its objective is to build NGO capacity, to monitor government adherence to its international and constitutional obligations and to aid victims of rights abuses and assist them in seeking redress. CRD encourages efforts to achieve these objectives through democratization and rule of law reform. CRD activities include consultation, dissemination of information, building international solidarity, supporting a program of small grants to those working in China, research assistance, and other services.

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