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Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the Chinese government to end forms of treatment designed to alter an individual's sexual orientation that were allegedly being carried out in hospitals across the country, according to a report released on Wednesday.
The 52-page report entitled "Have You Considered Your Parents' Happiness? Conversion Therapy against LGBT People in China" is based on interviews with 17 people who were allegedly forced into the so-called "conversion therapy" and held against their will between 2009 and 2017, reports Efe news.
The interviews demonstrate how most of the subjects, aged between 15 and 35 years old, were taken to both private and public medical facilities by parents and relatives "without their free and informed consent" to participate in the treatments, the HRW said.
The testimonies collected in the report revealed the common use of electroshocks, forced medication, involuntary confinement, verbal harassment and intimidation during the sessions, advertisements for which can be found online and in newspapers.
"I didn't know they would actually use electroshock. I was asked to relax and the doctor said he was performing some kind of hypnotising procedures to help me get into the status ready for treatment. The doctor asked me to think about sex with my boyfriend. And I felt pain on both of my wrists.
I got freaked out and had no idea what happened," Gong Lei, who underwent conversion therapy in Fujian province, told HRW.
"The doctor said it was electroshock. And it will take more sessions to make it work."
In addition, 11 interviewees told HRW that they were forced to take pills or subjected to injections without being informed about their purpose or potential risks.
One patient said that a doctor told him of the perceived dangers of homosexuality and that "if you don't change that about yourself, you will get sick and you will die from AIDS. You will never have a happy family... Have you ever considered your parents' happiness?"
Only two court cases have challenged specific aspects of conversion therapy in China, with the court ruling in favour of the plaintiffs, although "neither case is likely to have a widespread deterrent effect or change the existing situation significantly", the HRW said.
In July, a man successfully sued a psychiatric hospital after claiming that he was detained, drugged and beaten by staff members in an attempt to "cure" him of homosexuality in central China.
Another man also won a similar case in 2014, after he alleged that he had received electric shocks in another psychiatric centre.
China decriminalised homosexuality in 1997 and the Chinese Society of Psychiatry eliminated it from its classification of mental disorders in 2001. A subsequent 2013 mental health law also made sexual conversion therapy illegal.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)