College student forcefully sent to mental institution sues school, hospital
An unruly college student was forcefully sent to a psychiatric hospital for 134 days after his teachers complained that the student had mental problems. When the young man finally got away and proved to have no psychiatric illness, a lawsuit was brought against both the involved college and hospital, with the latter being ruled to pay 50,000 yuan in compensation.

CCTV net, a state-backed news portal, denounced the decision of compulsory hospitalization in the case as a serious violation of civil rights, while calling such malpractices to be more severely punished.

The plaintiff, Liu Gang (alias) said he was forcefully taken away from college campus by several medical workers of the Luoyang Mental Health Center in 2015 and then hospitalized there. During the 134-day confinement, Liu said he was forced to take meditation, beaten up, and treated by electric shock against his will.

He finally found a way to let the center’s director know what's happening and was then released. By the end of 2017, the court of first instance ordered the medical center to apologize and pay Liu 50,000 in compensation. However, both Liu and the defendant chose to appeal, and the second-instance court began the hearing of the case last week.

In 2014, Liu Gang was admitted by the foreign language school of Luoyang Normal University through national gaokao after he had worked for five years. As the only boy in a class of 49 students and with an age difference of 10 years, Liu told the Beijing Youth Daily that he was in most cases reserved to himself and seldom communicated with his classmates.

In the summer holiday of 2015, Liu’s teacher Chen Guan’an called Liu’s mother, warning that her son was mentally disturbed and asked the mother to find a local mental institution for checkup.

Xu Congmin, a vice director with the Luoyang Mental Health Center, then accompanied the mother to the school and without Liu’s consent, as he later claimed, and the several people from the center tied his hands behind his back and forced him into the hospital car. The teacher Chen Guan’an then told the weeping mother that his son must be hospitalized, treated and then certified to be well again by the hospital before he could continue his learning in college.

Liu was released from the hospital by the end of 2015. In October 2016, he was diagnosed to have no “mental illness” by the Fifth Affiliated Hospital of the Henan University of Science and Technology.

Liu suspected he was intentionally accused of being a “psychopath” by his teacher Chen Guan’an because he had twice demanded to change dormitories. The first request was made because the student was concerned the newly refurbished dormitory would affect his health, while the second one was made because he later found out the new dormitory in a different school district had no convenient transportation.

Luoyang Normal University argued during the first trial that it just informed the plaintiff’s mother about his conduct at school, and there was nothing wrong with the method of handling the matter. “He had quarreled with teachers, students and doorkeepers of his dormitory multiple times. He refused to communicate with other people, and could not abide by the boarding regulations, which had affected the school’s management and other people’s work and learning at school,” a court file revealed.

The Luoyang Mental Health Center insisted Liu was escorted into its in-patient department by his guardian, and the guardian which is Liu’s mother was aware of and agreed with all the designed treatments for the college boy.

Based on the hospital record at the time of admission, Liu was found to be sane except for being withdrawn. Being threatened that with no certification there will be no discharge from the hospital and graduation from college, Liu had been detained at the hospital for 134 days, with his medical expenses mounting to 21,673 yuan.

Similar cases in which mentally sound people were forced to be hospitalized due to groundless accusations have repeatedly come to light these years, even after the country’s first Mental Health Act went into effect in 2013.

For example, in 2016, it was reported a man in Yanyang, central China’s Henan province, had intentionally forced his mother to be hospitalized by a mental institution because the mother had property disputes with the son. And as in the college student’s case, the involved hospital also reportedly acted “proactively” in taking in the patient.

“From the fact that Luoyang Mental Health Center had only shouldered civil liabilities, it’s obvious the cost of such illegal compulsory hospitalization is quite low. If similar crimes could not be severely punished, citizens’ civil rights could hardly be assured,” a CCTV net commentary wrote.

The Mental Health Law has a specific clause to define rightful hospitalization, which regulates the principle of voluntariness would apply except for people who are severely mentally disturbed and have begun to inflict harm on themselves or others or threaten to jeopardize their own or other people’s safety. Apparently, that’s not the case for college boy Liu Gang.       


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