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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Petitioners denounce scholar for labelling 99% of them insane

April 13, 2009

Tibetan Review
April 11, 2009

A prominent Chinese psychiatrist has blurted out
the probable reason why petitioners in China are
regularly harassed, beaten and otherwise
punished, with their grievances being very
rarely, if ever, addressed. Sun Dongdong, the
head of Peking university's judicial expertise
center, raised public outrage by suggesting that
99 percent of people who repeatedly petitioned
the government were mentally ill. His comment was
significant because the center helps judicial
authorities evaluate a person's mental health, reported Reuters Apr 8.

On Apr 8, angry petitioners descended on the
university. The report said at least 100
middle-aged and old petitioners demonstrated at
the prestigious university, shouting out
complaints against Sun and publicizing their own
grievances. It quoted one petition as saying,
"They (corrupt officials) beat me and left me
disabled, and knocked out four of my teeth. … And
now Sun Dongdong says that we petitioners are mentally ill."

China’s detention of petitioners and protesters
in psychiatric hospitals has attracted criticism
from rights activists and international psychiatric groups for many years.

Following the outburst of outrage, Sun has
maintained that he had been misunderstood by the
public and quoted out of context by the media,
although his explanation is not very convincing.
The official China Daily newspaper said Apr 7
that it had received a statement from Sun,
explaining that he did not say 99 percent of all
"professional petitioners" in the country were
mentally ill – only 99 percent of "those whom he
had met." And he was quoted as saying, "I extend
my sincere, deep apology to those people whose feelings are hurt."

Earlier, in his comments published in the Mar 23
issue of China Newsweek, Sun had, reportedly,
said, "99 percent of professional petitioners are
mentally ill, most of them paranoid, and could be
forcibly detained in mental hospitals" because
they were disturbing public order.

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