Iam writing to thank APA for the organization's efforts to bring to an end
the misuse and abuse of psychiatry in the People's Republic of China.
Reports of widespread misuse of psychiatry in China by the wrongful
detention in psychiatric hospitals of non-mentally-ill Falun Gong
practitioners were brought to the attention of the secretary-general of the
World Psychiatric Association (WPA) in February 2000 by Abraham L. Halpern,
M.D. There was no response by the WPA, and it was only after prodding by the
APA Board of Trustees on the recommendation of the then Committee on
International Abuse of Psychiatry and Psychiatrists, the Council on Global
Psychiatry, and the APA Assembly; the active participation of Ellen Mercer,
former director of the APA Office of International Affairs; and, finally, the
near-unanimous vote (only one abstention) in August 2002 by the General
Assembly of the WPA at the World Congress of Psychiatry in Yokohama, Japan,
calling for a task force to be appointed to prepare an investigative mission
to China that the WPA took up the matter with the Chinese Society of
We are cautiously optimistic, with no new reported cases during the past
year, at the possible cessation of persecution of practitioners by psychiatric
interventions. However, we deplore the continued mistreatment of Falun Gong
adherents by police, unwarranted arrests, and incarceration in prisons and
work camps. We are also concerned about frequent reports, thus far
unconfirmed, that Falun Gong practitioners are being forcefully medicated with
high-dose neuroleptics in police facilities and hospital emergency rooms and
then sent home suffering from the adverse effects of the drugs.
We are concerned, further, about the reports that non-mentally-ill
political dissidents and others are being held in Ankang institutions (maximum
security forensic psychiatric hospitals run by the Chinese Police Security
Bureau), none of which has been visited by members of the WPA investigative
mission to China in the past year.
Thank you again, APA, for your tremendous efforts on behalf of Falun Gong
practitioners and for your continuing advocacy of human rights everywhere.