A gay Chinese man is suing a mental hospital, alleging that staff detained, drugged and beat him in an attempt to “cure” him of his homosexuality, according to a news report.
The man said he had been taken by force in October to a government-run hospital in central Henan province by his wife and other family members last year after she discovered he was gay.
Although he asked to be released, the hospital diagnosed him as a having a “sexual preference disorder” that needed treatment, China News Service reported.
Over the next two weeks he was regularly drugged and sometimes beaten, he said, adding he was only released after a friend reported the case to the police.
“The hospital’s forced treatment restricted my freedom and severely tarnished my reputation,” he was quoted as saying, adding that he now moves from city to city like a fugitive for fear of being kidnapped again.
The man said he decided to sue the mental hospital after learning last month that a court in Beijing had ordered another clinic to pay compensation to a gay man in 2014 for administering electric shocks in an attempt to make him straight. That man, Yang Teng, said he had undergone the therapy voluntarily following pressure from his parents to marry.
The Beijing court ruled there was no need to administer electric shocks because homosexuality does not require treatment, and awarded Yang 3,500 yuan ($530) as compensation for the cost of treatment, according to his lawyer.
China legalized homosexuality in 1997 and declassified it as a mental disorder in 2001.
The man from the city of Zhumadian in Henan province said his wife had agreed to end their marriage after discovering he was gay, only to kidnap him on the day he was due to sign divorce papers.
A district court in the city agreed to hear his case on Monday, the news report said.
In 2015, a documentary made by Britain’s Channel Four discovered that Chinese hospitals were still offering painful electroshock therapy and drugs to “cure” homosexuality, even though the treatments have no scientific basis, and despite the Beijing court ruling.
Xu Jing contributed to this report.