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Coercive Psychiatric Treatment for Supporter of Activist Monk

October 25, 2006


Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that a female
supporter of activist Buddhist monk Master Shengguan has been detained
and forcibly admitted to a hospital for psychiatric treatment.

The woman,
surnamed Zou, reportedly assisted Master Shengguan in reforming the
administrative system of the Huacheng Temple in Yichun City, Jiangxi Province.
Zou was subsequently accused by Yichun City officials of being involved in a
sexual relationship with Master Shengguan.

Sources in China told HRIC
that on the morning of October 21, Zou and her elder brother were on their way
to a cemetery in Baiyun, Guangdong Province to pay respects to their deceased
father when a large vehicle pulled up in front of their car and forced it to
stop. Seven or eight men reportedly emerged from the vehicle and identified
themselves as public security officers. They then put Zou in handcuffs, and one
of them reportedly took out a hypodermic needle and injected her with an unknown
substance before gagging and blindfolding her and taking her away in their
vehicle. According to HRIC's sources, Zou's brother and sister are both
government officials in Shenzhen. Both have been under great pressure because of
the controversy involving their sister, and they reportedly collaborated with
the authorities in Zou's abduction.

Sources say that around 1:00 that
same afternoon, Zou telephoned a friend and said she had been abducted and taken
to Guangzhou's Baiyun Psychiatric Hospital. Zou reportedly told her friend that
she was calling from a cell phone that she had borrowed from a family member of
another inmate while no one was watching.

Later that afternoon, Zou's
lawyer, surnamed Huang, was informed of her situation and went immediately to
Baiyun Psychiatric Hospital. Huang reportedly presented hospital administrators
with a letter of engagement and requested an opportunity to meet with Zou face
to face and arrange for her discharge. However, hospital administrators said it
was Zou's brother who had admitted her, and that she could not be discharged
without her family's permission. Huang said that Zou was capable of making her
own decision, and that the hospital was complicit in her unlawful detention. He
telephoned the police emergency hotline for assistance, but Zou remains deprived
of her personal liberty.

According to HRIC's sources, this incident is
related to action that Zou took with two other female temple volunteers,
surnamed Zhu and Zhang, to support Master Shengguan in reforming the temple's
financial system, which was riddled with corruption. Master Shengguan,
originally named Xu Zhiqiang, was a participant in the 1989 democracy movement.
In 2002, he took Buddhist orders and became a monk. He was appointed executive
director of the Huacheng Temple on January 20, 2006, and immediately attracted
controversy by putting a stop to expropriation of assets and routine
interference in the normal operations of the temple by local officials.

HRIC reported in a previous press release that on the evening of August
22, Yichun Municipal Religious Affairs Bureau Director Yang Xu,
accompanied by dozens of police officers, forced the temple's Abbot, 88-year-old
Master Jiequan, to accompany them to an urgent meeting with Master Shengguan at
the Huacheng Temple. At the meeting, Abbot Jiequan was reportedly forced to
issue a formal written notice condemning Master Shengguan for improper
relationships with the three women. Attached to the notice was an additional
notice from the chairman of the state Chinese Buddhist Association,
Yicheng, stating that Master Shengguan was expelled from the temple, and
also from Jiangxi Province.

All three women were reportedly detained by
police, and one of them, surnamed Zhang, said that during her nine-hour
detention, she was beaten and threatened until she falsely acknowledged a sexual
relationship with Master Shengguan. The three women subsequently initiated a
civil action against the Yichun Religious Affairs Bureau and Chinese Buddhist
Association chairman Yicheng for failing to protect the Buddhist adherents under
their care, and for libeling innocent people without any formal investigation or
evidence. A letter they sent to Yicheng is attached to the Chinese version of
this press release. HRIC's sources say that since filing this action, all three
women have been subjected to constant threats and harassment by local
authorities.

Some local media have taken note of this case and have
reported on Zou's forcible admittance to the psychiatric hospital. (For a report
in Guangzhou's Metropolitan Daily, see http://news.sina.com.cn/s/2006-10-23/090311307924.shtml.)

HRIC deplores the harassment of these women, and in particular the
forcible psychiatric treatment imposed on Zou. Abusive and coercive use of
psychiatric treatment is reported with increasing frequency, underscoring the
serious deterioration of human rights conditions in China.

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