Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chinese Whistle-Blowers Sent to Mental Hospital

The NY Times reports from Peking:
BEIJING — Local officials in Shandong Province have apparently found a cost-effective way to deal with gadflies, whistle-blowers and all manner of muckraking citizens who dare to challenge the authorities: dispatch them to the local psychiatric hospital.

In an investigative report published Monday by a state-owned newspaper, public security officials in the city of Xintai in Shandong Province were said to have been institutionalizing residents who persist in their personal campaigns to expose corruption or the unfair seizure of their property. Some people said they were committed for up to two years, and several of those interviewed said they were forcibly medicated.

The article, in The Beijing News, said most inmates were released after they agreed to give up their causes. ...

In recent years practitioners of Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement, have complained of what they call coerced hospitalizations. One of China’s best-known dissidents, Wang Wanxing, spent 13 years in a police-run psychiatric institution under conditions he later described as abusive.
Several years ago I would have said that only the commies would use shrinks as a punishment for activities that annoy the govt authorities.

Here is what I got from Bret Johnson, a gay shrink who works for the court, in Nov. 2004:
Father shall participate in a minimum of six months of thrice monthly individual counseling with a licensed therapist ... and shall continue as needed thereafter or until released.
On Jan. 11 of this year, Cmr. Joseph ordered:
No. 6, Father will commence counseling pursuant to the recommendation of Dr. Johnson.
The order is purely punitive, because no one has claimed that I have any psychological disorder or any clinical need for counseling or anything like that. I have have five different psychological evaluations done for the court, and none of them said that I have any sort of disorder.

Family Code §3190 provides for a counseling order of less than one year if the court finds that some dispute that “poses a substantial danger to the best interest of the child.” But there is no such danger than anyone has identified. And I have already spent over a year of seeing various counselors in attempts to comply with the court, so the statutory limit has already been exceeded.

Family Code §3191 requires that the counseling be “specifically designed” to facilitate communication, reduce conflict, and improve parenting skills. But Comm. Joseph’s order is not directed at any of those things.

I cannot see any authority in the law, or any justification from the evidence, for Cmr. Joseph to issue his order. It appears to be just maliciousness and vindictiveness on his part. Like those Chinese officials, Cmr. Joseph has apparently found a cost-effective way to deal with gadflies and whistle-blowers.

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