Letters to the Editor
Falun Gong
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 23 page 38-38

For all the good work and intentions of APA representatives on the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), it seems that the latter body hasn't learned from past experience:

Those who served on the WPA during the years that psychiatric abuse of both patients and psychiatrists was taking place in the former Soviet Union learned that the higher echelons of Soviet psychiatry were in fact either apologists for the state, lacked the courage to oppose the abuses, or were active participants in the abuse. The infamous diagnosis of "sluggish schizophrenia" is a classic example of how far eminent Soviet psychiatrists were prepared to go to cover the abuses.

Now in China we see the emergence of the diagnosis of "quigong psychosis" to validate the psychiatric treatment and incarceration of the practitioners of Falun Gong and political dissidents.

The abusive use of psychiatry in China cannot occur without the compliance of Chinese psychiatrists. Regrettably, we cannot punish the state without punishing Chinese psychiatry. This lesson was hard won from the Soviet experience. There are times when it is indeed better to be cruel in the present to be kind in the long run. We, as an association, need to demand that the WPA actively pursue the requirements it expected of Chinese psychiatry at the International Congress in Yokohama, with the understanding that expulsion will follow if they fail to fulfill those requirements (Psychiatric News, November 1, 2002). Collegial discussions and scientific meetings will not suffice.

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