Human Rights Watch: China's Public Hospitals Are Still Electroshocking LGBT People

Earlier this year a Chinese court banned a state hospital from forcing a homosexual man to undergo conversion therapy to try to make him heterosexual

Earlier this year a Chinese court banned a state hospital from forcing a homosexual man to undergo conversion therapy to try to make him heterosexual

Young LGBT people can face intense pressure and scrutiny from their families, and many of those interviewed in the report said they were pushed into conversion therapy by their own parents.

"Conversion Therapy Against LGBT People in China", based on interviews with 17 people who endured conversion therapy, describes how parents threatened, coerced, and sometimes physically forced their adult and adolescent children to submit to conversion therapy.

Nearly all of the people interviewed by Human Rights Watch reported being subject to verbal harassment and insulting language by doctors and psychiatrists, including terms such as "sick", "pervert", "disease", "abnormal", and "dirty".

But more than two decades later, members of the LGBT community continue to be subjected to "conversion therapy" to change their sexuality, the report by the Human Rights Watch found.

Because same-sex marriage is not legal in China, and same-sex couples cannot adopt children, this can lead them to enter into sham marriages in order to have children, or be pressured - or forced - into conversion therapy. Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights program of Human Rights Watch, holds a report in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov.

Human Rights Watch called on China to take immediate steps to stop medical facilities from offering conversion therapy.

"I didn't know they would actually use electroshock". None provided free and informed consent.

"The experience had left a deep psychological impact on me", said Yang, was not involved in the Human Rights Watch report, in an interview Tuesday.

Four of the five interviewees said they were not told beforehand that they were about to undergo such treatment, which compounded their trauma.

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"As they turned it up, I started to feel pain instead of just numb". One described it as like "having needles stabbing my skin". "Then after a few minutes, my body started trembling... it was not until later did I realise that was an electroshock machine", said one person identified by the pseudonym Li Xiaoyun. The doctor asked me to think about sex with my boyfriend. "If you don't change that about yourself, you will get sick and die from AIDS", the doctor reportedly said. "Have you ever considered your parents" happiness?"

Under the National Health and Family Planning Commission guidelines, all provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions are required to investigate activities occurring in hospitals and clinics that violate of the 2013 Mental Health Law. But when Human Rights Watch contacted the bureau responsible for monitoring implementation of the law, an agent said they were unaware of any abuses related to conversion therapy.

None of the people Human Rights Watch interviewed who had undergone conversion therapy had chosen to file a complaint.

According to the report, in some cases the process "entailed involuntary confinement, forcible medication, and electroshocks, which can constitute a form of torture".

Although the court has ruled twice in favour of victims of conversion therapy, the rulings have not yet had an obvious deterrent effect, the NGO said.

According to HRW, the pseudoscientific practice is widespread in China, carried out in public hospitals and government approved clinics even though homosexuality is neither a crime nor regarded as a mental illness in the country.

China is a party to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and has signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all of which contain provisions that require the prohibition of aspects of conversion therapy.

"Only then does decriminalisation become meaningful legally and socially, and give LGBT people across China actionable protections against this grim practice", Reid added.

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