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China: Suspension of Electroshock for “Net Addiction”

The Chinese Ministry of Health recently announced that electroshock treatment for “internet addiction” should be suspended. The controversial electroshock therapies have recently been used by some Chinese clinics to cure symptoms of “addiction” to the internet in young people. These methods, invented by Yang Yongxin have ultimately been proved unscientific and torturous. Many bloggers applaud the news.

A user on Neteasy comments:

电击治疗 可以在主观上让患者进行自我修正,但是 对于神经的伤害是不确定的,准确的说,对于不同的人,承受力相差很大,不太可能制定一个统一的安全范围。

Electroshock therapies may make the sufferer self-cured subjectively. However, the harm it has done to the nervous system is uncertain. To be more precise, the endurance depends on the sufferer himself and it's not probable for us to set up an unified criterion.

A commenter on Sina feels it is very weird for some parents to trust the words of unauthorised “experts”:

都什么年代了,每天上个几个小时网很正常好不好!这所谓网瘾,在国外更多不过被当作笑话而已。那些家长太愚昧了,竟然相信这些借网瘾赚钱的伪专家。

It's quite common now to spend a few hours online everyday. It's already the Internet epoch! The so-called “net addiction” must be totally a joke in the eyes of foreign Internet users. How stupid those parents are to believe the fake experts who made a lot of money from the “net addiction” business.

Fang Zhouzi, a well-known scholar and blogger, says it is against our common sense and ethic:

国内一度采用电击疗法治疗青少年网瘾,便违反了医学伦理。电击疗法被用来治疗心理疾病,虽然已有几十年的历史,但是也是最有争议的疗法,并有显著的副作用。目前电击只被用以治疗少数几种严重的心理疾病,主要是用以治疗严重的忧郁症,有临床试验研究认为有一定的效果。通过对脑部施加电击诱发抽搐并改变大脑功能,其机理至今不明,但已知能损害记忆和认知功能。

That China once applied the electroshock therapeutics for “net addiction” is against medical ethics. Electroshock is a disputed therapy and produces obvious side-effects though it has a history for some decades. Right now, it is merely applied to a few types of severe psychological illnesses, especially hypochondria and this has been proved by various clinic experiments. Giving the brain electronic shocks to change the cerebral function can only damage the memory and cognitive ability but the mechanism of it is still unknown.

A lawyer named Liu Xiaoyuan writes in his blog that:

强迫孩子们接受残酷电击疗法前,估计医疗机构也不会将治疗的安全性、有效性,特别是痛苦性告诉家长和孩子们,这就严重侵犯了家长和孩子们的知情权。

Before we force our children to accept the cruel electroshock therapies, I guess the medical institutions would not tell the parents the truth about how much torture this treatment can bring to their kids, which means their right to know was neglected.

制造出这种世界上绝无仅有治疗“网瘾”技术的专家们,你们是否考虑过电击疗法对孩子的残酷与无人道呢?如果“网瘾”真是一种病态,除了残酷的“电击”疗法,难道你们就研究不出药物疗法吗?

May I ask those experts who forged the term “net addiction” and intended to “cure” it: Do you see the torture and inhumanity your therapies brought to them? If  “net addiction” is factually a kind of disease, can you figure out some pharmaceutical way to cure it?

将安全性和有效性不确切的治疗技术用于孩子身上,简直是太不人道了,等于是在拿孩子做医疗实验品。

All is too atrocious! To apply the immature treatment with no validity and safety simply equals to using those kids as ‘lab rats’ in a medical laboratory.

Blogger Hu Yong thinks electroshock therapy shows lack of professional authenticity and official credibility:

如果连专家都不能确定一个有关网瘾的确切定义和标准,如果连国际上都在对此小心翼翼地求证,我们的网瘾治疗机构的诸多做法依据何在?根据什么把青少年收治入院?

If the experts are not certain about the clear definition of “net addiction” and even the international organizations are cautious to this question, how can we be so irresponsible sending our children to clinics without questioning its credibility?

A boy receiving the ‘electroshock therapeutics’ describes his feelings when he was in hospital. 

我记不得他们给我多少次(电击),但一定有几十次。在两次电击之间,他们会让我休息一会儿。每次治疗持续半小时左右。

I cannot remember exactly how many electroshocks they gave me but it could be no less than several dozen. They would let me take a rest between the intervals for half an hour or so and shock me again.

我挣扎并设法站起来,他们就说我还是不肯留下来,于是接下来的半小时里又给了我好几次电击。我最终同意留下,因为我真的再也受不了啦。

I struggled to stand up, but they said that I'm not willing to stay there and thus gave me several other electric shocks in the next thirty minutes. I could not bear it so in the end I had to give in.

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