According to the Chinese news outlet Da Ji Yuan, a Chinese reporter has fled mainland China after he tried to dig deeper into the case of the chained woman in Xuzhou city, Jiangsu province. 

Earlier this year, a woman was filmed emerging from a shack with a chain by her neck. Her plight stirred heated public uproar on China’s human trafficking affront. 

A China government investigation identified her as Xiao Meihua, a woman who disappeared in Yunnan province in the 1990s. But the internet was skeptical about the finding, with RFA reporting that skeptics said she could have been older than the real Xiao Meihua.

Journalist Zhao Lanjian is the owner of interview footage that showed Xiao Meihua’s uncle denying the Xuzhou woman was his niece but changed his words after some strangers walked in. At the time, Zhao told VOA News he was determined to submit the videos to multiple public security departments.

In response to his information input, Zhao now tells Da Ji Yuan that the authorities treated him with harassment. His video was removed from the internet, he was banned from writing reports and taking photographs. 

Zhao said, “I was even more worried about my own safety, so I fled for the U.S.”

Although Zhao failed to keep his interview with Xiao Meihua’s uncle afloat on the mainland’s internet, it can still be accessible on YouTube and Twitter

Zhao was not the only reporter who contacted Xiao Meihua’s family and inquired about the Xuzhou woman. RFA also interviewed a younger sister of Xiao, who as well denied that the woman could be her sister.

As for the outrage over the chained woman in Xuzhou, public attention gradually faded shortly after China announced seventeen officials who were sacked, punished, or put under investigation.

According to an op-ed by the BBC on June 24 about women’s rights in China, the government would give out promises and propose law changes in cases such as these.

The outlet writes, “But these have yet to materialize, and the Chinese Communist Party leadership has not signaled any changes. Meanwhile, censorship has increased.”

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