Staff at a Chinese psychiatric hospital have been caught bounding its patients to their wheelchairs and beds with ropes.
One of the patients had his mouth taped shut while another desperately begged a visitor to free him, according to China's Jiangsu Television and Broadcasting Group.
The horrifying incident was exposed after an undercover investigation was carried out at the Ruihaibo Medical Rehabilitation Centre by journalists at a programme called 'Nanjing Zero Distance'.
A recent undercover investigation shows a carer walks past a patient who had his hand tied to his wheelchair at a hospital in Nanjing, eastern China's Jiangsu Province
The horrifying incident occurred at the Ruihaibo Medical Rehabilitation Centre (pictured), a hospital specialised in looking after people with mental disorders, according to a report
Ruihaibo Medical Rehabilitation Centre, situated in Nanjing, is a government-certified hospital specialised in looking after patients with mental disorders. It claims to provide 24-hour care to the patients.
In response to the footage, the hospital explained the staff had tied up the patients because it was a way to protect them.
The news came to light after one woman called the TV station describing what she had seen at the hospital.
The woman, surnamed Wu, claimed she was thinking of sending her father to the hospital after hearing good things about the place, so she wanted to visit it.
However, Ms Wu was horrified after entering one ward. She claimed to see one elderly man being tied to his wheelchair.
She said the man's two hands were bound to the two sides of the wheelchair while his feet were bound to the foot plates.
Ms Wu also said the patient on bed number two had his mouth taped shut while being tied to his wheelchair.
A third patient in the ward thought Ms Wu was a carer at the hospital and begged her to free him as he said 'I am in such pain', added the woman.
The undercover journalists, who pretended to be visitors to the hospital, saw one of the patients (pictured) at a ward being tied to his wheelchair by hand with ropes
The carer in charge of the ward (pictured) said he had to tie up the patients because he had to look after three people and was too busy, according to a written report by the same TV station
After receiving the call, the journalists paid two visits to the hospital undercover.
The programme said the journalists went at around noon time on September 2, but didn't notice anything special.
However, when they went again on September 5, also around noon, they saw the scenes described by Ms Wu.
Hidden camera footage televised by the programme shows one patient's hand was tied to his wheelchair while another patient's foot was bound to his bed.
One of the journalists, who pretended to be a visitor, found the worker who was looking after the ward and asked him why he would do so.
The worker said he hadn't worked here for long but had been told to do so because all workers had to sleep at night and wouldn't have time to take care of the patients.
Apparently the worker had to look after three patients and was too busy, so tying up the patients would stop them from grabbing people and hurting themselves, said the worker, according to a written report from Nanjing Zero Distance.
The journalists claimed they visited multiple wards and the situation was not uncommon.
When the programmed contacted the hospital to comment on the matter, the hospital reportedly said they couldn't find a better way to treat the patients.
The hospital said that because all the patients suffer from mental disorders, they would need intensive care, so staff's job was very challenging.
The hospital also said the patients would sometimes unplug medical devices applied on them, which also caused the workers to tie them up.
According to the report, the case is being investigated by the local authority.