Chinese man sues over shock therapy in “gay conversion”

By Toby Manhire In The Internaut

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baiduChina’s answer to Google, the search company Baidu, is being sued by a gay man from Haidan district after he was given electric shock treatment as part of “gay conversion therapy”.

The man found the clinic, which he is also suing, when it was returned as the first result in a Baidu search on “cures” for homosexuality.

From the AP report:

Yang Teng, 30, told The Associated Press that the therapy given to him included hypnosis and electric shock and he was left physically and mentally hurt. He said he voluntarily underwent the therapy in February following pressure from his parents to get married and have a child.

“My hometown is a small city, people there still care about carrying on the family line,” Yang said, adding that now he can finally accept his homosexuality.

The case is attracting widespread attention in part because of the question of whether search companies are liable for the links they serve up, but also could represent a “milestone” in Chinese gay rights, reports Jiang Jie in the Chinese Global Times.

“Although conversion therapy is illegal in many Western countries, there is so far no law banning such treatment in China.”

The case is expected to lead to a change in China’s “official clinical guide for mental disorder diagnosis”, which currently classes “ego-dystonic sexual orientation” – where an individual believes there own sexuality or desires “conflict with one’s desired image” – as an illness.

This classification, campaigners tell Jiang, is regarded as “one last obstacle before a total depathologisation of homosexuality”.

 

See also: The “ghost cities” of China

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