Chen Qiushi spent two weeks at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic reporting about the situation on the ground in Wuhan, China, before he disappeared for close to two years
A Chinese man who challenged the country’s government and worked to expose the coronavirus situation in Wuhan has reappeared after 600 days missing,
Chen Qiushi put his life on the line when he took the last train to Wuhan in late January 2020 to report on the emerging Covid pandemic.
The 34-year-old lawyer-turned-citizen journalist pledged to highlight what he believed was really happening in the city as the killer virus ripped through it.
Chen had made himself a target by reporting that Wuhan’s residents were being locked inside their homes, recording the fear and confusion that was widespread as the then mystery virus claimed lives.
AFP via Getty Images)
He also compared Covid-19 to SARS, claiming the Chinese Communist Party had worked to “cover up of the truth and the block of information” in both situations.
“If we spread the news and information faster than the virus does, then we can win this war,” he said in a clip, which has been viewed more than 1.5 million times.
Chen continued documenting the unfolding disaster in the city during its first lockdown by interviewing people who had lost their loved ones and filming inside local hospitals.
He also visited the Huanan Seafood Market which was first linked to the outbreak.
Shortly before his disappearance, seemingly aware that the government was on to him, Chen posted a defiant video.
“I’m not even scared of death. You think I’m scared of you, Communist Party?” he said.
AFP via Getty Images)
Get all the latest news sent to your inbox. Sign up for the free Mirror newsletter
Suddenly, after a fortnight of reporting and posting online from Wuhan, Chen went quiet and was not heard from again until this month, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Chen published a letter on Twitter and appeared in a video alongside a friend, in which he didn’t address where he’d been.
“Over the past year and eight months, I have experienced a lot of things. Some of it can be talked about, some of it can’t,” the letter reads.
“I believe you understand.”
So far, Chen has not responded to requests for interviews from global media organisations.
He is not the only Chinese journalist who has vanished during the pandemic.
According to Australian reporter Sharri Markson, who has published a book on the pandemic and subsequent cover-ups titled What Really Happened in Wuhan , there were 897 cases of Chinese citizens being punished for challenging China’s propaganda about the pandemic between January and April 2020 alone.