China's National Mental Health Law: a 26-year work in progress

Author: 
Yu-Tao Xianga, Xin Yuc, Gabor S Ungvarid, Edwin HM Leea, Helen FK Chiu
Publication date: 
1 March 2012
Excerpt from the article: "On June 10, 2011, the draft of [China's] National Mental Health Law was finalised by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council and released for public comment. After public consultation, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress further revised the draft on Oct 24, 2011 and released it on Oct 29, 2011,6 before final approval and formal implementation. In the absence of any national guidelines on compulsory psychiatric admission and discharge, the current daily practice in China is that individuals who are suspected of having mental disorders are often compulsorily admitted to psychiatric hospitals with the consent form signed only by family members. Usually only the person who signed the consent form for the admission is then allowed to apply for the patient's discharge from hospital.3 This common practice does not respect the human rights of patients with mental illness. The latest draft of the National Mental Health Law aims to promote mental health, improve the quality of mental health services, and protect the human rights of patients with mental disorders."