The dramatic stories of Fang Bin, Chen Qiushi, Ren Zhiqiang, and Xu Zhangrun, ordinary citizens who exposed the Xi Jinping Government.
“There is a Chinese phrase that says that the chicken is killed to scare the monkey,” says Frances Eve, deputy director of investigation of the Chinese watchdog organization Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), to explain why the Chinese regime arrested and disappeared to critical voices in the midst of the coronavirs outbreak.
As reported by the Daily Mail More than 5,100 people were arrested for sharing information in the first weeks of the outbreak. Dissidents are being labeled as sick so that the government can put them in medical quarantine. And the health apps used by tens of millions of people to prove they are free of coronaviruses are used to monitor people’s movements and strengthen control.
“The fearsome knock on the door came after dark. Outside were two men in protective suits who told businessman Fang Bin that they had come to take him to medical quarantine. But the textile merchant, a lanky man in his 40s, was not ill and the men outside his Wuhan apartment were not doctors. They were police officers who were facing a threat that the Chinese Communist Party had been dealing with as fiercely as the coronavirus itself – ordinary people who bravely exposed the truth about the outbreak and refused to shut up, ”wrote George Knwoles in the media. British this Sunday.
The “crime” Fang was alleged to have committed was posting a video showing people dying from the virus and body bags piled outside a hospital clearly overwhelmed by the casualties at a time when China insisted that the virus was under control. It was viewed 200,000 times before censors removed it.
Fang, moved by the unimaginable horror of what was happening in his hometown, is one of the three whistleblowers missing by the Chinese government for exposing the terrifying magnitude of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Human rights groups believe that the Fang, lawyer Chen Qiushi and former state television reporter Li Zehua are being tortured and forced to write confessions in extrajudicial detention centers where, in more normal times, Chinese police secretly terrorize lawyers and activists who consider themselves enemies of the state.
In its investigation this Sunday, the Daily Mail denounces “a cynical and orchestrated campaign by the Chinese regime to stop the debate on the virus in the country of 1.4 billion citizens. “Hundreds of ordinary citizens are being detained and fined for harmless online messages about queues in hospitals, a shortage of masks and the death of family members,” says the British newspaper.
As detailed, The unprecedented crackdown began with threats to Dr. Li Wenliang and seven other doctors for sending messages to colleagues on December 30, warning them of the outbreak of a SARS-like illness at Wuhan Central Hospital and advising them to wear protective clothing.
Li was forced to sign a police document stating that he had “seriously disrupted social order” and violated the law before returning to work at Wuhan Central Hospital, where he died of Covid-19 on February 7, that unleashed pain and outrage across China.
The injustice Li had been dealt with turned into a national protest in which the hashtag #wewantfreedomofspeech (we want freedom of expression) was shared two million times in the space of hours.
But tweets did not change the course of the regime, long since embarked on a ruthless tightening of control over social media.
A day before Li’s death, lawyer Chen Qiushi – whose videos of chaotic scenes in Wuhan hospitals with coronavirus victims lying in halls were shared with an audience of more than 400,000 YouTube followers and 250,000 Twitter followers – went missing. His family was told the next day that he was under medical quarantine in an undisclosed location.
Before his disappearance, Chen realized that the police were looking for them and left a disturbing message: “As long as I am alive, I will talk about what I have seen and heard.” I’m not afraid to die. Why should I fear you, Communist Party? ” It disappeared days later.
Three weeks later, Li Zehua, 25, a reporter for Chinese state television who rebelled to report the true death toll in Wuhan, broadcast his own arrest live when plainclothes police officers arrived at his home.
All three are believed to be in secret detention centers, a sinister form of extrajudicial incarceration that officials describe as “residential surveillance at a designated location,” the Mail explains .
“All the disappeared are at a very high risk of being tortured, and most likely they will try to force them to confess that their activities were criminal or harmful to society”, explained to this newspaper Frances Eve, deputy director of investigation of the Chinese monitoring organization Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD)
Secret detention centers often house dissidents such as human rights activists and lawyers. “In most of the cases that we have tracked, the people who enter have been tortured. You don’t have access to your lawyer or your family or anyone outside the police, “Eve graphs.
The regime never spoke of any of these cases. In fact, the Chinese ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, was questioned twice on TV about Chen Qiushi’s fate “I have not heard of this person … I did not know him then, and I do not know him now,” he said obfuscated. ..
The only missing person China has made any official comment on is billionaire real estate magnate Ren Zhiqiang, 69, who went missing in March after calling President Xi Jinping a “clown” for mishandling the virus outbreak.
Weeks after his arrest, Beijing announced that Ren was being detained for “serious violations” of the law and the rules of the Communist Party.
The stifling of any criticism of the outbreak’s handling by the Chinese government extends to all levels of society. Police publicly announced on February 21 that they had intervened and penalized people in 5,111 cases of “deliberate fabrication and dissemination of false and harmful information” only in the first weeks of the crisis.
“All the pain and fear that the Chinese felt in the first few weeks of the confinement have been removed from the Internet by the government. They detained people and punished them and sent warnings to people to remain silent and not share what they experienced,” Eve stated.
China insists that millions of people in cities affected by Covid-19 use smartphone apps with a barcode to show if they are infection-free. However, the application accesses other personal data and can be used to increase the degree of social control through technology.
Pioneers in the complaint against the Chinese regime,Human Rights Watch China insists that COVID-19 became “a very convenient pretext for an authoritarian regime to silence people and deny them their rights.”