New mental health law enters into effect

2013-05-01 01:24:36 GMT2013-05-01 09:24:36(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

A mental health law that requires consent from mentally ill patients before they receive inpatient treatment takes effects in China on Wednesday.

The law was approved by the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress last October after three readings.

The law says mentally ill people, with the exception of those with a severe mental illness or who have the potential to harm themselves or others, should receive inpatient treatment on a purely voluntary basis.

The law also requires medical institutions to respect their right to demand a discharge.

The law has attracted a great deal of attention since a draft of the law was first submitted for discussion, as reports of people being wrongly institutionalized have increased.

According to the law, there should be no infringement upon the dignity, personal safety or property of mentally ill people.

Institutions and individuals must protect the privacy of mentally ill people by preventing leaks of private information, such as their names, addresses and employment status, unless the sharing of such data is necessary for institutions and individuals in order to exercise their lawful duties.

Several other laws and regulations will come into effect on Wednesday.

A regulation on the compulsory scrapping of vehicles, issued by the Ministry of Commerce in January, stipulates that vehicles that do not meet certain requirements, such as emission and noise requirements, must be dismantled.

A regulation introduced by the State Administration of Work Safety that requires manufacturers to obtain licenses from local regulatory administrations before using hazardous chemicals in production will also go into effect.

Manufacturers that handle hazardous chemicals without the license, as well as those that attempt to counterfeit or illegally transfer such licenses, may be subject to fines of up to 200,000 yuan (31,805 U.S. dollars), as well as face criminal penalties in the event of a serious violation, according to the regulation.

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Editor: Mei Jingya
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