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Letters to the Editor
APA Recognized
Psychiatric News
Volume 41 Number 11 page 33-33

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 Psychiatry.

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.

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