Handbook on Human Rights in China
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Handbook on Human Rights in China

Edited by Sarah Biddulph and Joshua Rosenzweig

This Handbook gives a wide-ranging account of the theory and practice of human rights in China, viewed against international standards, and China’s international engagements around human rights. The Handbook is organised into the following sections: contested meanings; international dimensions; economic and social rights; civil and political rights; rights in/action and access to justice; political dimensions of human rights in Greater China; and new frontiers.
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Chapter 12: Mental health rights in China

Guo Zhiyuan


The rights of people with a mental illness deserve special protection in any modern society. This chapter begins in the first section with an overview of key international treaties addressing mental health rights. The second section gives a general picture of China’s approaches to dealing with people with a mental illness. Following a historical overview of the treatment of people with a mental illness in the criminal justice system, the third section discusses three recent developments: China’s ratification in 2008 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the 2012 Criminal Procedure Law which introduced important changes to the treatment of suspects with mental health problems, and China’s adoption later in 2012 of its first modern mental health law. The third section analyzes the current legal regimes addressing mental health rights in more details. The fourth section suggests some possibilities for future reforms to better protect mental health rights in China.

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