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After three years, a Chinese who reported on Covid will be released

By 04/30/2023 3:03 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

A cousin and another person familiar with his situation stated that Chinese authorities were getting ready to free a guy who went missing three years ago after making footage showing bodies and congested hospitals during the COVID-19 epidemic public.

Beginning in early 2020, Fang Bin and other people in the public who gained notoriety as citizen journalists published information on the epidemic on the internet and social media, exposing Chinese officials who were criticized for their inability to contain the outbreak.

Fang, a vendor of traditional Chinese apparel, last shared a video on Twitter of a piece of paper with the message, “All citizens resist; hand power back to the people.”

Fang’s case is part of Beijing’s campaign to repress criticism of China’s prompt response to the pandemic while the country’s Communist Party is in power.

According to two persons who wished to remain anonymous out of concern for reprisals from the government, he was supposed to be released on Sunday.

According to one of them, Fang received a three-year prison term for “picking fights and causing trouble,” a general charge frequently leveled against political dissidents.

The Associated Press did not independently confirm his release, which could not verify the specifics with the authorities.
Two offices of Wuhan’s public security bureau declined to answer any queries or provide a phone number for their information office.

On Sunday afternoon, phone calls to the alleged court that sentenced Fang went unanswered. A woman from a different court who purportedly handled Fang’s appeal claimed she could not provide any answers.

Early in 2020, the 11 million-person metropolis of Wuhan in the Hubei region of central China was ravaged by the inaugural COVID epidemic. Besides ambulances and security personnel, its streets were deserted for months during the 76-day lockdown.

With the help of smartphones and social media accounts at the time, a few citizen journalists attempted to challenge the Communist Party’s strictly regulated monopoly on information by telling their own experiences and those of others. Despite their subtle movement, the scale was unlike any major disease outbreak or disaster that had ever occurred in China.

However, the data they provided soon got them into trouble. Fang and Chen Qiushi, a second citizen journalist, vanished in February.

In September 2021, Chen reappeared on his friend’s live YouTube video and claimed he had been depressed. He did not, however, go into specifics on his disappearance.

In December 2020, Zhang Zhan, another citizen journalist who had covered the outbreak’s early stages, was given a four-year prison term for inciting fights and igniting problems.

Eight months later, according to her attorney, she had staged a protracted hunger strike and was now unwell.




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