Mental Hospital Again for Petitioner

A Chinese worker is locked up after exposing his ordeal in a psychiatric facility.

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china-petitioners-reform-30.jpg Women petitioners kneel and cry as they hold placards to register a local complaint outside a court in southwest China's Chongqing municipality, May 13, 2010.

A fugitive Chinese petitioner has been captured and locked up again in a mental hospital after he exposed to the media his four-year ordeal in the facility, while a reporter was beaten up for trying to shed light on the case, fellow petitioners said Tuesday.

Xu Wu, an ex-worker at the Wuhan Iron and Steel (Group) Corp. (WISCO) in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has been petitioning the authorities over unequal pay in his company.
After a court rejected his suit against the company over the salary issue four years ago, Xu traveled to Beijing several times to seek justice.

Instead, he was confined in the mental ward of the WISCO No. 2 Hospital.

On April 19, Xu escaped from the psychiatric hospital and went to the southern city Guangzhou, where he exposed the “horrors” he experienced at the mental facility to a famous investigative TV program.

About a week later, Xu was kidnapped by at least 10 unidentified men in the compound of Nanfang TV, the television station to which he spoke about his ordeal, and was locked up again in the same hospital.

'Electric shock'

RFA contacted the Mental Ward of the WISCO No. 2 Hospital on Tuesday but an employee there hung up the phone immediately after hearing Xu's name.

Based on the footage aired by Nanfang TV, Xu said, “I was forced to take ‘medicine’ three times a day. If I refused they would beat me up, or use electric shock to torture me.”

“The food was unbearably bad, even worse than that of a police detention center,” Xu said.

“Xu Wu lost freedom for four years in the mental hospital for petitioning, and he is now locked up there again,” said Cheng Xue, a woman petitioner in Wuhan who knows Xu.

“He fled the hospital by bending the iron bars on the window. Upon his arrival in Guangzhou, he went to a local hospital to have an examination on his mental condition. The people there concluded he is normal,” Cheng said.

“The plainclothes police from Wuhan forcibly detained him and took him back,” Cheng added.

Cheng said that she tried to visit Xu in the Mental Ward of the WISCO No. 2 Hospital, but was refused entry by the staff there.

Reporter beaten up

Cheng also revealed that a reporter was beaten up by the security personnel of the hospital while trying to cover Xu’s case.

Ji Xuguang, from the outspoken media group Nanfang Daily (The Southern Daily) based in Guangzhou, went into the hospital but was stopped by security guards there.
“Many want to know the detail of my story in Wuhan, but my boss doesn’t like me to talk too much at this moment,” Ji said in an interview on Tuesday.

When asked if he was wounded at the hospital, Ji said, “You’d better check out my blog, on which I presented everything.”

He said he needed several days of rest in Guangzhou before going back to work.

On his blog, Ji described the ordeal he went through at the hands of the hospital security personnel.
“While beating me up, a man yelled, ‘A reporter is just a farce. We can keep Xu here as long as our bosses want.’ Several old WISCO workers tried to protect me, but were brutally pushed away,” Ji wrote.

“In Wuhan, if you petition, they will lock you up in a mental hospital,” said a petitioner surnamed Hou, who lives in the city.

Reported by Qiao Long from Hong Kong for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translation by Ping Chen. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.


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