August 2, 2011

CHINA: Residents' years-long nightmare will end soon, says Shanghai official

SHANGHAI, China / The Shanghai Daily / Metro Feature / August 2, 2011

By Xu Chi

A privately owned psychological counseling center in a residential apartment, which has been terrorizing neighbors with mental patients' screaming and violent behaviors for years, is being forced out after a patient jumped off the high-rise to his death on Sunday.

The highly depressed patient, a 21-year-old from Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, jumped from the 19th floor of the residential building in the Pudong New Area.

The man's death was the final straw for residents, who have been living through something resembling a horror movie in the complex on Pudong Avenue. They have complained for more than two years about screaming and yelling almost every day from mental patients under treatment at the center.

"They sometimes roared hysterically late at night," said a resident surnamed Cai who lived next door to the center. "They sounded like they were fighting fiercely or crying bitterly."

Cai said neighbors had often come to the center's doors to complain, and in response strangers wielding knives would come out, threatening to kill them if they dare make a sound.

The 28-story residential high-rise houses the Shenguang Psychological Counseling Center, which specializes in treating patients with serious depression or other mental illnesses.

According to apartment residents, the center owned a special room on the 19th floor, equipped with toys, sandbags and even boxing equipment as a place for their depressed patients to vent their anger. A resident surnamed Jiang said he always saw men fighting each other, sometimes holding weapons such as knives and iron bars.

An official surnamed Chen with the area's neighborhood committee told Shanghai Daily that the center had a business license but it would be relocated in seven days.

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