The psychiatrist told my mom: ‘Homosexuality is just like all the other mental diseases, like depression, anxiety, or bipolar. It can be cured…. Trust me, leave him here, he is in good hands.’
— Wen Qi (pseudonym), March 16, 2017
Homosexuality is neither a crime nor officially regarded as an illness in China. For decades, the legal status of consensual same-sex activity between men was ambiguous, but that was cleared up in the revised criminal code of 1997. In 2001, the Chinese Society of Psychiatry removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. This is consistent with the consensus of global medical associations that homosexuality is not a medical condition.
However, public hospitals and private clinics in China continue to offer so-called “conversion therapy,” which aims to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual, based on the false assumption that homosexuality is a disorder that needs to be remedied. Despite a legal framework that requires that the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders comply with diagnostic standards and standards on the categorizations of mental disorders, Chinese authorities have not taken the necessary steps to stop public hospitals or private clinics from offering conversion therapy. The steps should include: issuing clear guidelines to all public and private hospitals and clinics indicating that conversion therapy contravenes existing law; closely monitoring medical facilities to determine whether conversion therapy is taking place; and, where it is, holding such facilities accountable, including by suspending the licenses of errant facilities or practitioners.
This report documents multiple abusive aspects of conversion therapy, including coercion and threats, physical abduction, arbitrary confinement, forced medication and injection, and use of electroshocks. It is based on interviews with 17 individuals who underwent conversion therapy under intense family and social pressure, as well as parents and rights activists.
All interviewees were emphatic about one thing: they would not have undergone conversion therapy were it not for family and social pressure. Read more via Human Rights Watch