Objective To date, there is no systematic analysis of mental health laws and their implementation across the People's Republic of China. This article aims to describe and analyze current legal frameworks for voluntary and involuntary admissions of mentally ill patients in the five cities of China that currently have municipal mental health regulations. Methods Information on the legislation and practice of involuntary admission in the five cities was gathered and assessed using the “WHO Checklist on Mental Health Legislation.” The checklist was completed for each city by a group of psychiatrists trained in mental health legislation. Results Although the mental health regulations in these five cities cover the basic principles needed to meet international standards of mental health legislation, some defects in the legislation remain. In particular, these regulations lack detail in specifying procedures for dealing with admission and treatment and lack oversight and review mechanisms and procedures for appeal of involuntary admission and treatment. Conclusions A more comprehensive and enforceable national mental health act is needed in order to ensure the rights of persons suffering mental illness in terms of admission and treatment procedures. In addition, more research is needed to understand how the current municipal regulations of mental health services in these cities are implemented in routine practice.
Definitions and theoretical models of the stigma construct have gradually progressed from an individualistic focus towards an emphasis on stigma's social aspects. Building on other theorists’ notions of stigma as a social, interpretive, or cultural process, this paper introduces the notion of stigma as an essentially moral issue in which stigmatized conditions threaten what is at stake for sufferers. The concept of moral experience, or what is most at stake for actors in a local social world, provides a new interpretive lens by which to understand the behaviors of both the stigmatized and stigmatizers, for it allows an examination of both as living with regard to what really matters and what is threatened. We hypothesize that stigma exerts its core effects by threatening the loss or diminution of what is most at stake, or by actually diminishing or destroying that lived value. We utilize two case examples of stigma—mental illness in China and first-onset schizophrenia patients in the United States—to illustrate this concept. We further utilize the Chinese example of ‘face’ to illustrate stigma as having dimensions that are moral-somatic (where values are linked to physical experiences) and moral-emotional (values are linked to emotional states). After reviewing literature on how existing stigma theory has led to a predominance of research assessing the individual, we conclude by outlining how the concept of moral experience may inform future stigma measurement. We propose that by identifying how stigma is a moral experience, new targets can be created for anti-stigma intervention programs and their evaluation. Further, we recommend the use of transactional methodologies and multiple perspectives and methods to more fully capture the interpersonal core of stigma as framed by theories of moral experience.