In a shocking revelation, The SUN has reported that five whistle-blowers who wanted to show the ‘truth’ of Wuhan are still missing, while one has died.
Their whereabouts have been a mystery since February, leading to fears that the Chinese government is torturing and silencing dissenting voices for speaking out against the pandemic.
The list of five persons includes three citizen journalists - Chen Qiushi, Fang Bin and Li Zehua who shared pictures and videos from inside the quarantined city.
As per one Metro report, the popular accounts of these people on YouTube – which is banned in mainland China but can still be accessed through a virtual private network (VPN) – have all gone quiet, and the Chinese authorities keeping mum about them.
The Daily Mail report claimed that over 5000 people were arrested in China in first week of outbreak itself for sharing information on the virus. Further, the people were taken to quarantine facilities and labelled as ‘sick’ in a bid to silence their voices.
Further, Chinese people are being threatened with jail time for sharing news about coronavirus happening around them on social media.
Various human rights advocates have raised concerns over the treatment of people in China, while many nations, such as US, UK and France, have questioned the handling of the pandemic by the Chinese regime.
Dr Li Wenliang
Li worked in the Wuhan hospital were several cases of a SARS-like illness were identified in patients who had visited a seafood market in the city.
On 3 January, Li was called to the local police station and reprimanded for "spreading rumors online" and "severely disrupting social order" over the message he sent in the chat group.
The hero doctor later died in February after contracting coronavirus from the patients he was treating.
A Chinese billionaire who criticised President Xi Jinping's handling of the coronavirus epidemic went missing in Mid-March. His son and assistant are also reportedly missing.
The CNN report quotes Wang Ying, an entrepreneur and close friend of Ren, as saying that she had not been able to reach him since 12 March, and she fears that he had been taken away by authorities.
Qiushi, a human rights activist, reportedly went missing after uploading several videos showcasing the overwhelmed staff in Wuhan hospital due to the staggering number of patients. One of his reports claimed to show a woman sitting next to a dead relative in a wheelchair as she tries to call her family on the phone.
His Weibo account was deleted on 6 February, and his family was informed that he was being taken into quarantine. Since, then no one has heard from him.
His disappearance bears stark resemblance to that of Chen Qiushi.
Fang Bin, a Wuhan businessman, began posting videos about the outbreak with an aim to show the actual situation in the region.
As per reports, he uploaded a video on 1 February showing eight bodies outside of Wuhan hospital. He later alleged that police barged into his house and question him about the video.
On 9 February, he posted a short video with the words ‘all people revolt – hand the power of the government back to the people’, after which his account went silent.
Zehua was a journalist with a state broadcaster CCTV, however he quit his job to report on the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), Li was targeted after visiting the Wuhan Institute of Virology, an extremely sensitive venue for the Chinese authorities.
As per The Guardian report, Zehua posted live stream on Weibo claiming that claiming that he was being chased by state agents. The stream ended abruptly with two unidentified individuals entering the apartment.
The Chinese professor Xu Zhangrun published a critique of President Xi over China’s coronavirus crisis. He was placed under house arrest for days, barred from social media and cut off from internet.
It should be noted that the deadly pandemic that started in Wuhan, has killed more than 150,000 people and infected more than 2.2 million so far.
Earlier, reports alleged that the novel coronavirus (nCoV) may have been accidentally leaked by an intern working at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
Nobel prize winning scientist and French virologist Luc Montagnier suggested that the SARS-CoV-2 virus came from a lab, and is the result of an attempt to manufacture a vaccine against the AIDS virus.
China is also questioned about transparency in reporting about the virus.
Moreover, as per one Radio Free Asia report, Wuhan residents are themselves dismissive of Chinese Communist Party’s reported coronavirus death count of approximately 2,500 deaths in the city with most people saying that the real number is at least 40,000.