The Chinese government should stop hospitals and other medical facilities from subjecting LGBT people to conversion therapy, which in some cases involves electroshock, involuntary confinement or forced medication, a human rights group said Wednesday.
The report, released by New York-based Human Rights Watch, comes as awareness has grown in China regarding the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. It was based on interviews with 17 people subjected to the widely criticized techniques since 2009.
Homosexuality was removed from China’s official list of mental illnesses more than 15 years ago, but stories of families enrolling their relatives in treatments seeking to change their sexual orientation remain common. The report says many victims of conversion therapy were forcibly brought to hospitals by their families, which became the subject of a groundbreaking lawsuit this year.
Chinese society continues to strongly favor children who can pass on their family name. And since same-sex marriage is not legal and same-sex couples cannot adopt jointly, gay people feel compelled to enter heterosexual marriages and have children. China also has no laws protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, which deters victims of conversion therapy from seeking justice. Read more via Japan Times