Three people accused of beating a 57-year-old woman to death at a psychiatric hospital have been detained by police in southern China.
The three, surnamed Chen, Fei and Liang, were arrested on suspicion of mistreating a person under their care, local police in Qingyuan city, Guangdong province said on Monday.
Qingyuan police received a report from a man, surnamed Chen, on 4 November, who alleged that his mentally ill mother, surnamed Guo, had died during her stay at an unnamed psychiatric hospital in the city. Emergency doctors failed to revive the woman, who Chen suspected had been beaten to death, the notice said.
The deceased woman’s son claimed in an interview with news outlet Pear Video on Tuesday that his mother was transferred to an emergency medical centre on October 29, two days after she had been admitted to the psychiatric hospital, and was already dead when she arrived.
“I went over there and my mother was already in the morgue. The emergency doctor said that when she had been transferred there, her heart had already stopped beating,” Chen said. “We realised that her body had a lot of wounds, and she was bleeding at the back of her head.”
Chen said he had seen, on the hospital’s surveillance camera footage, doctors beating and kicking his mother multiple times while she was strapped to her bed in the treatment room. The police statement did not give details of the suspects’ occupations.
“I saw the doctor open the metal door, enter the room and kick my mother with a lot of force on October 27. There were two other doctors there as well, one was even laughing,” Chen was quoted as saying.
“One took a broom and hit her with it, pulled her hair and stepped on her hand. It was very cruel. I saw them hit her around 10 times … My mother’s arms and legs were bound and she could not fight back at all.”
Chen said that he saw, on surveillance footage recorded at 12.24am on October 28, a doctor forcefully kicking his mother in the head. “I saw her writhing and struggling. After about six minutes, she finally stopped moving on the bed.”
Chen also claimed that, when he confronted the hospital about his mother’s death, a doctor working there suggested he was only complaining to gain financial compensation. “A doctor said, ‘Don’t you just want some money? Is one million, two million, three million yuan in compensation enough?’ They were trying to play tricks on our family like this.”
In China there remains a strong stigma around people living with mental illnesses, who are often blamed for violent crimes and social problems. The number of Chinese citizens with severe mental illnesses reached 5.8 million by the end of 2017, according to the latest available National Health and Family Planning Commission statistics.
The country’s first mental health law came into effect in 2013, banning mentally ill people from being confined against their will if they do not present a danger to themselves or the community.
However, many mentally ill patients are confined to psychiatric hospitals involuntarily for long periods of time.
Chen, Fei and Liang remain in administrative detention while the police investigation continues.
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This article Three detained in China accused of beating psychiatric patient to death first appeared on South China Morning Post