Woman illegally detained in mental hospital and given electric shock treatment wins lawsuit

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 May, 2014, 3:24pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 May, 2014, 4:10pm

A woman has won a lawsuit against the police for illegally detaining her after she was sent to a mental hospital for 132 days with no psychiatric tests.

Wu Chunxia, from Zhoukou, Henan, said she was subjected to horrific electric shock treatment three times a week. She now suffers from a series of health problems.

Wu had first been intercepted by police while travelling to Beijing to petition the All-China Women's Federation for help with an abusive marriage in April 2008.

Three months later, she was suddenly seized from her divorce hearing by police and detained for 10 days. Local authorities sentenced her to one year of "re-education through labour" without trial. But instead she was detained at a psychiatric hospital in Xinxiang, where she was treated as a paranoid schizophrenic.

Now she had won a verdict from the Henan High People’s Court which issued a final adjudication on the case.

Wu said staff at the hospital placed electrodes on her scalp three times a week and force-fed her drugs that caused weight gain, high blood pressure among other health problems.  

She told the Beijing News: “The doctors told me that I had paranoid type of mental illness, and the symptoms they wrote down were ‘running around and petitioning for three years’.”

She added “They covered my eyes, forced me to take pills and put steel needles on my head, which were charged with electricity, three times a week.”

She went on: “The harder I tried to prove I was normal, the more they said I was actually sick.”

Wu said that after she tried to commit suicide several times the hospital finally released her.

In 2009, after she was released, Wu sued the mental hospital and received 150,000 yuan (HK$190,000) as compensation. But she didn’t stop there. 

“Since that, I have gained more than 20 kg and started to suffer from hypertension and hyperlipidemia. I have become infertile. I need an explanation,’ said Wu.

Three years later in 2012, Wu sued the branch of the police which sent her to the mental hospital. A court ruled the Zhoukou Police Bureau violated the law by sending Wu to the hospital but 10 days later the police filed an appeal to the high court.

Yesterday, the high court issued the final adjudication.

“I no longer have a family. My child is my husband’s now. I don’t know what to do next. I want to start over,” Wu said.