China Protester Forcibly Admitted to Psychiatric Hospital

January 21, 2006 Updated: January 21, 2006

BEIJING – A woman who protested against forced evictions in Shanghai, China's rapidly modernising commercial hub, has been forcibly admitted to a psychiatric hospital, a New York-based rights group said.

Another Chinese who irked the authorities, a man arrested when he tried to mourn purged Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang, has lost an appeal against his three-year sentence, said the group, Human Rights in China, in a statement seen on Saturday.

Liu Xinjuan was taken, bound and gagged, to a psychiatric hospital after being detained by police when she met other petitioners on Jan. 16 in a Shanghai park, the report said.

When her son visited her at the hospital he found her covered in bruises and wounds, her left hand immobilised by injury, it added.

Another U.S.-based monitoring group, Human Rights Watch, says Chinese police psychiatrists often apply the label “litigation mania” to people who persistently lodge petitions or complaints with the authorities about persecution.

Liu, a long-time petitioner on land and relocation issues, had already been forcibly admitted for psychiatric treatment in 2003 and subjected to brutal abuse, as well as being held for a time in criminal detention, the HRIC report said.

It said she and the group she was meeting last week had planned to go to a session of the Shanghai People's Congress.

As China's booming cities scramble to modernise, clearing older homes to make room for new skyscrapers, shopping complexes and apartment blocks, forced evictions have become commonplace.

The practice has spawned much local discontent, playing a role in many of the 74,000 protests that took place in China in 2004, according to government figures.

Xu Zhengqing, who was arrested last year after trying to mark Zhao's death, has lost his appeal against a three-year prison sentence for disrupting public order, HRIC said.

Zhao Ziyang, purged as party chief in 1989 after he opposed the army crackdown on the Tiananmen pro-democracy protests, died in January 2005 after 15 years of house arrest.

Xu travelled from Shanghai to the capital in a group of 22 to mourn him, only to be intercepted by police and sent back. Xu was beaten after he asked police: “What is the crime in mourning Zhao Ziyang?”, an earlier HRIC report said.

Convicted of causing disorder on a public bus and later on a train while being escorted by police back to Shanghai, Xu was originally sentenced late last year.

More than 100 supporters turned up outside the courthouse for the appeal hearing, the group said.