A Henan court will hear the case of a man who was allegedly sent to a psychiatric hospital for treatment of a “sexual preference disorder.” He is asking the hospital to apologise and award compensation of RMB 10,000 (HK$11,626) for restricting his freedoms.

According to state-funded publication The Paper, the man, using the pseudonym Yu Hu, was sent to a psychiatric hospital to undergo “forcible healthcare” for 19 days. The court case begins on Wednesday.

Photo: RFA.

After Yu decided to file for divorce from his wife, he was sent to a  hospital in Zhumadian city against his will by some of his family members in October 2015.

“I tried to explain that I didn’t have a mental illness and asked to leave the hospital, but I was refused. The hospital used the name of a ‘sexual preference disorder’ to treat me forcibly, and the medical staff often forced me to take medication and gave me injections,” he told The Paper.

He said that the forced treatment was very damaging to him: “The hospital locked me up, tied me up, and fed me medication, just because I’m gay.”

Yu was released from the hospital after his friends called the police.

A staff member at the hospital told The Paper in June that they were unclear about the specific case, but that they admit patients according to the law, requiring them to give their signature as consent. The hospital would not admit a patient if they were strongly expressing opposition, the staff member said.

Yu’s lawyer Huang Rui told US-backed Radio Free Asia that the key to the case depends on whether there is evidence to prove that Yu Hu has a mental illness. According to the law, there must be a diagnosis or assessment saying the patient is severely mentally ill and is in danger of hurting himself or others before a hospital can take forcible treatment measures, said Huang.

LGBT Rights Advocacy China group. Photo: Weibo.

A member of the LGBT Rights Advocacy China group told RFA that many hospitals and clinics still issue corrective treatment to homosexuals.

They said: “Homosexuals receiving treatment in China is actually very common. Just our organisation will receive five or six [people] asking for help, saying they were subjected to treatment.”

China’s psychiatric association dropped homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders in 2001.

Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.