Involuntary detention and treatment of the mentally ill : China's 2012 Mental Health Law

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-588
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Issue number6
Online published12 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


The long-awaited Mental Health Law of China was passed on 26 October 2012 and took effect on 1 May 2013. Being the first national legislation on mental health, it establishes a basic legal framework to regulate mental health practice and recognizes the fundamental rights of persons with mental disorders. This article focuses on the system of involuntary detention and treatment of the mentally ill under the new law, which is expected to prevent the so-called "Being misidentified as mentally disordered" cases in China. A systematic examination of the new system demonstrates that the Mental Health Law of China implicitly holds two problematic assumptions and does not provide adequate protection of the fundamental rights of the involuntary patients. Administrative enactments and further national legislative efforts are needed to remedy these flaws in the new law.

Research Area(s)

  • Involuntary detention, Involuntary treatment, Mentally ill patients, The mental health law of china