The Chinese dissident blogger He Weihua has been confined in a psychiatric hospital in a detention his family blames on his criticism of the government, a press freedom group said Friday.
“It is unacceptable that the Chinese authorities use such methods to silence citizens who have just expressed their views peacefully online,” Reporters Without Borders said. “How can the authorities expect us to believe that a mentally ill person is capable of detailed investigative reporting?”
The Paris-based organization said He was sent to the hospital in the southern province of Hunan early this month after making a posting in Julythat criticized an increase in pork prices by Hunan officials and predicted corruption within the Communist Party would soon cause its collapse.
Reporters Without Borders described itself as outraged by He’s detention and called on the central government to intervene with Hunan authorities for He’s release.
“We fear that this case shows that the Chinese authorities have still not abandoned the use of punitive psychiatry against those who expose abuses and defy censorship,” the group said.
He’s relatives told the group that he is not mentally ill.
“He has written an enormous number of articles on human rights, especially on Boxun. I think he has all the qualities of a person of sound mind,” one relative was quoted as saying by the group. He was confined after receiving a judicial summons from the Public Security Bureau, and it was not his first stint in a psychiatric hospital, Reporters Without Borders said. He was also held in 2004 and given injections against his will by member of the State Security Bureau, it charged.
In June, the State Security Bureau searched He’s home in the city of Hengyang, confiscating his laptop and warning him he faced consequences if he continued writing about human rights, it added.