AFTER undergoing hypnosis at a clinic in Chongqing, Peng Yanhui—who goes by the name Yanzi—was told to lie on a sofa, think about having sex with another man and move his finger if he felt any emotional or physical reaction. “Then, when my eyes were closed, the clinician suddenly turned on the electroshock machine,” he recalls. “I jumped up screaming loudly. When I said I was scared, he just smiled and said that was what he wanted.” Yanzi (pictured in 2014 outside a court in Beijing at which he successfully sued the clinic) had good cause to be frightened. But he was not surprised. As a gay-rights activist, he had volunteered for the abusive “conversion” therapy to expose the prevalence of such treatments in China, which most doctors in developed countries consider to be unethical and medically fallacious.
November 16 / The Economist