In February, when the COVID-19 situation in Wuhan was getting worse by the hour, former state-run news station employee Li Zehua quit his job, traveled to the region, and began reporting on the true situation there, raising serious questions and allegations against China in the international community. This led to the Chinese Government facing accusations of downplaying and covering up the true extent of the outbreak, both domestically and internationally.
Zehua took extensive videos of virology labs and medical facilities, and shed light on the massive death-count allegedly caused by negligence on part of the Chinese government by posting videos from crematoriums and funeral parlors. On the 26th of February, Li released a video detailing an incident that occurred that day, when a white SUV suddenly cut past the lanes and drove through speeding traffic before blocking his path. On the same day, security personnel visited his apartment and left with Li (he also live-streamed his detention on Youtube).
Henceforth, he was taken to Badaija Police in Wuhan and informed of the charges against him, ‘disturbance of public order’, and interrogated for almost 12 hours. From that point on, Li was stripped of his electronics, only given three meals a day, only allowed to contact his close ones for short periods of time and only allowed to watch the government TV station, CCTV, where he used to work before quitting.
Zehua recently released a 6-minute Youtube video praising the police and the government. He thanked the police for acting in a ‘civilized way’ and ‘caring for him and ensuring that he had sufficient rest and food’. The video ended on a very patriotic note, with Li expressing his hope for the Chinese populace uniting under the present government and ‘be blessed’. This video was filmed in front of a blank white background, and many suspect that it was filmed under duress.
I was not the first disappearance. Wuhan businessman Fang Bin and human rights lawyer Chen Quishi haven’t been heard from in three months, after going missing following attempts to cover and document the on-ground situation in Wuhan. China’s own governmental reports and announcements document 897 Internet users were penalized for talking about coronavirus online this year, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders.
Grade XII, Manav Rachna International School, Gurgaon
Krishaang is a curious and ambitious young man who wants to make a change in the world and leave his mark. He is a published writer and has taken part in and won many debates and group discussion competitions at all levels (from school to international).