Chen Qiushi, a citizen journalist of China who had been reporting from the centre of the coronavirus outbreak has gone missing, prompting claims that the Chinese authorities are silencing another whistleblower.
Chen Qiushi has been missing since Thursday – the same day Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist who was punished by authorities for trying to warn colleagues and friends about a new Sars-like virus, was first reported to have died from the coronavirus.
Chen went to visit a hospital on Thursday and friends and family have not been able to reach him since evening. According to Chen’s mother, he has been forcibly quarantined.
Chen’s disappearance comes as the Chinese government struggles to contain public anger over its handling of the virus. That public anger has reached a new level in the wake of Li’s death.
Chen, who has more than 200,000 followers on Twitter and more than 400,000 subscribers to his Youtube channel, had been posting regular updates from Wuhan, where he visited hospitals and spoke to patients and doctors. Like Li, he is seen by the public as a regular citizen trying to help others.Internet users rallying for Chen accused the government of trying to muzzle citizens attempting to tell the public the true conditions on the ground in Wuhan. Many of the comments about Chen appear to have been wiped from Weibo.