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China Human Rights Briefing September 28-October 1, 2012


Disability Rights
    •    UN Committee Addresses Involuntary Psychiatric Commitment in China

Special Notice
    •    CHRD Makes UN Submission on Behalf of Imprisoned Activist Guo Quan

Disability Rights
UN Committee Addresses Involuntary Psychiatric Commitment in China
While noting positive efforts from China in some areas, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities found in a recent review that China falls far short of the requirements of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Committee’s concluding observations—issued on September 27 after its review of China—devotes over 40 paragraphs to “principle areas of concern and recommendations,” which include many of the issues raised by CHRD in its recent report on involuntary psychiatric commitment in China. For example, the Committee found it disturbing that many people in China—with actual or perceived psychosocial impairments—are forcibly committed to psychiatric institutions. In addition, the Committee expressed its concern that “correctional therapy” at such institutions is tantamount to “inhuman and degrading treatment.” The Committee also registered its concern that forced psychiatric commitment is permitted under the revised draft Mental Health Law (see CHRD’s statement for more on this issue), and that the revised draft does not “respect the individual will of persons with disabilities.” Another issue addressed in CHRD’s report and noted as a matter of concern by the Committee is the lack of free and informed consent by individuals with disabilities with respect to medication and treatment. (See here for the advance unedited version in English of the Committee’s concluding observations, which include recommendations; go to the China section and click “E” in the far right column.)
Special Notice
CHRD Makes UN Submission on Behalf of Imprisoned Activist Guo Quan
On September 26, CHRD submitted allegations of human rights violations to Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of Guo Quan (郭泉), a former professor and democracy rights activist serving a 10-year sentence for “subversion of state power” in Jiangsu Province. Guo was detained in November 2008, arrested the following month, and tried in August 2009. A court in October 2009 subsequently convicted Guo based on articles he had written that focused on ending the authoritarian rule of the Chinese Communist Party, establishing a democratic political system with multi-party elections, and creating the China Xinmin (“New People’s”) Party. Besides preventing lawyers from meeting Guo before his trial, authorities interrogated and harassed all four lawyers who eventually defended him. It was reported in 2010 that Guo had grown extremely thin in prison, and that prison authorities had intercepted correspondence between him and his family.[1]
Editors: Victor Clemens and Joan Wen

[1] Submission to UN on Guo Quan – September 26, 2012, CHRD

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