NEW YORK—A panel discussion on Wednesday in New York City examined the extent and effects of physical and psychiatric abuse on detainees in China.
China's human rights abuses were discussed as part of the International Congress on Law and Mental Health at New York University (NYU).
Add the Chinese regime's use of law and arbitrary detention, and it allows for complete control over treatment of prisoners—whether guilty or not, said Terri E. Marsh from the Human Rights Law Foundation.
Marsh spoke at the panel meeting at NYU on the treatment of Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese Communist regime.
She said the Communist Party's campaigns to eliminate classes of people or belief systems has been systematic throughout the last 60 years. The Tiananmen Square massacre, the "Anti-Rightest Movement," and the persecution of Falun Gong, Tibetans, underground Catholics, and other religions are examples.
“In each of these campaigns, the target populations are demonized as a threat to state security and stability,” Marsh said. “The goal is the elimination of the group or its identity. The mechanisms are arrest, detention, torture and execution, the justification is social order and state security and the phrase used to describe the process is the Chinese term 'douzheng.'”
Use of Psychiatric Drugs
While every form of physical torture involves mental torture as well, Falun Gong practitioners have also been specifically targeted for psychological persecution, according to the Falun Dafa Information (FDI) Center.
This has come in two forms—brainwashing and psychiatric torture. The goal of forcing people who practice Falun Gong to renounce their beliefs and cooperate with the authorities has been a central part of the Chinese Communist Party’s campaign.
“The use of forced conversion practices in China to justify torture, execution and ill treatment is common place,” said Marsh. “According to Mao Zedong, forced conversion practices were necessary to maintain the control needed by the ruling elite to stay in power.”
At least 1,000 adherents have been subjected to psychiatric torture in Chinese mental hospitals, though the actual figure is likely many times higher, according to the FDI Web site.
In the regime’s psychiatric wards, Falun Gong practitioners are injected with unknown psychotropic drugs in toxic doses, said FDI research. Some people reportedly had been used as guinea pigs and fell into prolonged periods of hallucinations after being injected. Others suffered severe damage to their central nervous system from the injections. Yet others—mentally healthy when forced into the hospital for political reasons—became deranged after undergoing “treatment.”
Yu Zhenjie from Heilongjiang province said in New York recently that she was injected with an unknown drug while in captivity in China.
“I had severe pain in my abdomen and my organs,” Yu said. “When doctors finally woke me up I could no longer remember anything.”
Li Ming, a United Nations refugee now living in the United States, said she suffered more that 20 types of torture during her multiple detentions.
“I was locked in a small cage for long periods of time, force-fed, my limbs were tied to a bed and I was injected with unknown drugs,” Li said.
Organ Harvesting Continues
Human rights lawyer David Matas said the seizing of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners is likely continuing in China—despite a drop in foreigners traveling to the country to buy organs. The domestic market is thriving.
Matas and former Canadian Member of Parliament David Kilgour co-authored the report titled "Bloody Harvest: Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China." Their conclusion read, “We believe that there has been and continues today to be large scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners.”
Military involvement in the transplantations highlights the abuse of power the Chinese regime has over all governmental systems in China, said Matas. Transplants are often carried out by doctors in military uniforms, or in military hospitals. The military is also responsible for the transport of organs between detention centers, prisons, and hospitals, according to the report.
The Chinese Medical Association continues to be a member of the World Medical Association—a membership Matas questions.
“They [China] are clearly violating the rules,” he said. “There needs to be an investigation on what's going on in China, and there needs to be prosecution for organ transplant abuse.”
But Matas admitted that engaging China diplomatically will be difficult.
“I personally would find it hard to discuss with China upfront changing their system because as far as I'm concerned I'm dealing with criminals and hypocrites.”
Matas has traveled to more than 40 countries to raise awareness of China's state-sanctioned organ harvesting.
Testimony of a Falun Gong practitioner from Xuzhou City:
We were held in the Xuzhou City Mental Hospital for over three months. We were forcibly tied to a bed and the so-called medical staff gave us injections and forced “medicine” down our throats. They injected us with unknown drugs as well. We passed out and were unconscious shortly after receiving the injections.
When the injections were taking effect, we suffered from extreme pain. It was so severe that we writhed in pain, cried out miserably, and slammed ourselves against walls in a desperate attempt to knock ourselves unconscious in order to be rid of the pain.
After the injections’ effect wore off, we questioned the medical staff, “Why did you give injections and other harmful substances to us even though we are perfectly healthy?” They replied with shame, “We have no choice. It’s per instructions from above. We have to obey our leaders if we want to keep our jobs. We don’t want to treat you this way, but we don’t want to lose our jobs.”
—from “Investigative Report on Spiritual Persecution of Falun Gong Practitioners,” WOIPFG.