China's top procuratorate issued a new regulation on compulsory medical treatment for mentally ill suspects to avoid wrongful convictions and ensure fairness and justice.
The rules are aimed at preventing and rectifying cases in which suspects pretend to be mentally ill in order to be exempt from criminal penalties and those in which innocent people are forced to be institutionalized, the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) said in a statement.
To strengthen supervision over the use of compulsory medical treatment, prosecutors are allowed to meet with the mentally ill suspect, question the police handling the case, people who provide mental health assessments, doctors, relatives and neighbors of the mentally ill person, as well as victims in the case, according to the rules.
In some cases, the misuse of compulsory medical treatment was corrected by prosecutors after they listened to the victims, the SPP said.
Prosecutors should give suggestions on rectifying the use of compulsory medical treatment if the accrediting agency is found to be unqualified to issue diagnoses, or if falsification or other violations are found in the medical evaluation.
In 2013, China adopted a mental health law that requires consent from mentally ill patients before they receive inpatient treatment amid a growing number of cases in which people were wrongly institutionalized.
The law says mentally ill people, with the exception of those with severe mental illnesses or who have the potential to harm themselves or others, should receive inpatient treatment on a purely voluntary basis.