China: Around The Nation

Lawsuit delayed for Chinese man suing psychiatric hospital, claiming forcible confinement for gay aversion therapy

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 September, 2016, 1:07pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 September, 2016, 1:07pm

The lawsuit of a 32-year-old man who is suing a central China psychiatric hospital his family members forced him into last year for being gay has been delayed due to a lack of “critical evidence”, The Beijing News reports.

A court in Zhumadian, Henan province, was scheduled to hear the case on Wednesday, but is waiting on further evidence, according to the plaintiff’s lawyer.

The man, who is using the pseudonym Yu Hu, was forcibly taken to a mental hospital in Zhumadian on October 9, 2015, when he was on his way to divorce his wife, whom Yu claimed he only married because of tremendous pressure from his family.

Yu was released from the hospital after his boyfriend and an NGO volunteer called local police. He filed a lawsuit in May this year.

Yu’s lawyer, Huang Rui, told The Beijing News they filed a request to retrieve the police records when Yu was released, saying if the records showing Yu was being treated “against his will”, they could be used as direct evidence to prove he was being confined.

The court would hear the trial when this evidence is obtained, the lawyer said.

Chinese gay man sues mental hospital after family forced him to undergo ‘cure’ for his sexuality

“I was tied by my wife, parents and brother, who pushed me into a vehicle and took me to the psychiatric hospital, the Second People’s Hospital of Zhumadian,” Yu was quoted as saying.

The hospital restrained Yu upon admission and did not perform any routine checks on him, he said.

Yu was allegedly confined in the hospital for 19 days and received “treatment” to alter his sexual orientation, including medications such as antidepressants, the report said.

“I repeatedly explained to them that I did not have a mental disease but no one would listen,” Yu said, adding that he would never forget “the pain and humiliation” he went through in the hospital.

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Homosexuality was decriminalised in China in 1997, when the criminal code was revised to eliminate the vague crime of “hooliganism”, which had been used as a ban on private, adult, non-commercial and consensual homosexual conduct.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in China had made “significant progress” in the past 10 years and the general attitude towards gay people was becoming more friendly in China, the United Nations Development Programme said in a report.

However, there are still reports of gay people being forced into mental hospitals for gay aversion therapy in places such as Chongqing, where a gay man won a suit against a clinic in 2014 for “treating” him for being gay using electrical shock therapy. That was seen as a landmark victory for LGBT rights in China.

Beijing court hears gay man traumatised by clinic’s electro-shock ‘conversion therapy’

Yu said he had “mixed feelings” towards his wife.

“I feel both guilt and hatred towards her as we have spent so many years together and even have kids,” he said, adding that they have not divorced yet as he had not dared go back to his hometown since the incident.