Caring for mental patients is government’s duty

Updated: 2015-05-08 17:03

By Li Yang(

  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

That a schizophrenia patient beat up a three-year-old boy in the street, which was recorded on the surveillance camera, in Shanxi early this week drove the public into fury as calls rose to punish the mentally-challenged person. But this appeal is against the principle of a civil society, says an article of the

The man does not have the ability to judge the consequences of his behaviors as the other normal persons. That’s why the mentally challenged are exempt from legal punishment in many countries even if they cause serious damage to other people.

The special group of people’s legal immunity is the result of hundreds of years’ progress in legal history, and it’s a characteristic of modern civil society.

They should have guardians not only to take care of them and treat their illness, but also to protect them from harming others, and vice versa. If their families do not have the ability to do so, the government needs to stand up, to fulfill its duty.

In 2001, the public health authority in China issued a detailed list explaining the public hospitals’ obligation in treating patients of more than 400 kinds of mental illnesses.

Instead of calling to punish the mentally challenged man, the public should question the dereliction of the boy’s legal guardians, the coldness of themselves, as none of the passersby stopped the man’s violence, as well as the guardians of the schizophrenia patient.

Only when all these parties fail at their duties such tragedies happen. China has about 16,000 mental patients who are prone to violent crimes. Taking a good care of them is the government’s responsibility to protect the public security.