A citizen journalist who had managed to enter Wuhan just before the lockdown was declared as he wanted to let the world know what the real situation is regarding the coronavirus, has disappeared.
Chen Quishi, who was sending out the horror reports of the true extent of infection with the virus from the city where the epidemic began, has not been in contact with anyone, including family and friends, since 7 p.m. local time Thursday, Feb. 6, and his mobile phone remains unanswered.
His videos have been shared around the world, and Chen knew of the dangers he was facing by getting the truth out.
Chen had given instructions to close friends that if he became unreachable for 12 hours, they were to change the passwords on his accounts.
Chen’s friends have spoken up, and say authorities had informed his family over the weekend that Chen had been detained by authorities and “quarantined” in an undisclosed location.
“We can do nothing, not even his parents,” said the friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect Chen. “They didn’t even tell his parents where he is or how he is now. They didn’t allow them to make any phone calls.” reported the Washington Post.
Chen spoke earlier on video, the translation reads, “I’m afraid. In front of me is disease, behind me is China’s legal and administrative power,” he said, according to multiple translations. “But as long as I’m alive, I’ll speak what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard. I’m not afraid of dying. Why should I be afraid of you, Communist Party?”
His disappearance came just days after the death of whistleblower Dr. Li Wenliang, who first raised the alarm to the world about the severity of the coronavirus. After being reprimanded by government authorities for speaking out, Li suddenly contracted the coronavirus, despite the fact he knew of the dangers of infection and was taking every precaution, and died.
His death triggered an outpouring of rage at authorities from everyone. Overnight, the #WeWantFreedomOfSpeech hashtag gathered more than 2 million views before it was deleted.
“A system that won’t allow truth finally kills an honest, brave, and hardworking citizen. We should be not only angered but also ashamed! Why can’t people have freedom of speech? Why can’t we question?” said one post archived by the California-based China Digital Times project before it, too, was scrubbed by censors, reported The Post.