Fang Bin

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Fang Bin
FangBinVlog.png
DisappearedFebruary 9, 2020
Wuhan, China
StatusMissing for 3 months and 18 days
Known forbroadcasting images of Wuhan during the COVID-19 pandemic
Chinese name
Chinese

Fang Bin (Chinese: 方斌) is a Chinese businessman, citizen journalist and whistleblower who used Youtube and WeChat to broadcast images of Wuhan during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was arrested several times between February 1 and 9, 2020. He has been missing since his arrest on February 9, 2020.

Biography[edit]

Fang Bin was a businessman living in Wuhan (Hubei) in January 2020 when the Covid-19 outbreak hit China.[1]

Citizen journalist[edit]

Fang recorded his first video on January 25, 2020. His shots mostly show himself and the situation in different districts of Wuhan, and attracted a few thousand views. Videos were uploaded to Youtube to bypass the government's censorship of Chinese platforms. While Youtube is supposed to be blocked in China, it remains accessible through virtual private networks.[2]

First arrest[edit]

On February 1, 2020, Fang released a new video showing the piling up of corpses at the back of a minivan in front a Wuhan hospital.[2] The video was shared on Twitter by Chinese journalist Jennifer Zeng.[1] Fang was arrested on the same day, warned and eventually released during the night.[2]

Arrests of whistleblowers[edit]

In February 2020, Fang and two other citizen journalists and whistleblowers, Chen Qiushi and Li Zehua, were arrested and went missing in Wuhan. Chen, a lawyer who arrived in Wuhan on January 23, disappeared first on February 6; one week prior, he had uploaded a video criticising the Chinese government's manipulation of information which ended with the sentence "I am not afraid to die! You think I am afraid of you communist party?".[3][4] Li, another citizen journalist, went missing in late February,[5] but reappeared in April posting a neutral, patriotic video, in contrast to his previous tone.[6]

Two days before Chen's arrest, on February 4, the police came twice to Fang's apartment. He recorded the scene and refused to let them in without a warrant, worried that they had come in large numbers to arrest him (he counted at least four officers).[3] Fang kept making videos from his apartment during the following days, criticising the government's propaganda and its choice to arrest Li and Chen.[7] On February 9, he released his last video: a 12-second clip showing a piece of paper with the sentence "resist all citizens, hand the power of the government back to the people" written on it. He has been missing ever since.[7][8]

See also[edit]

  • Li Wenliang, whistleblower arrested after sharing early news of Covid-19, who died from the virus on February 7, 2020.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Roberts, Joe (April 16, 2020). "Three coronavirus whistleblowers still missing after two months". Metro.
  2. ^ a b c "Coronavirus: Why have two reporters in Wuhan disappeared?". BBC. February 14, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Lawyer Chen Qiushi documenting coronavirus epicentre disappears". South China Morning Post. February 10, 2020.
  4. ^ Kuo, Lily (February 10, 2020). "Coronavirus: journalist missing in Wuhan as anger towards Chinese authorities grows". The Guardian.
  5. ^ Varghese, Johnlee (February 29, 2020). "Where is Li Zehua? Rogue former CCTV journalist who reported horrific details out of Coronavirus hit Wuhan livestreams arrest". International Business Times.
  6. ^ Kuo, Lily (April 22, 2020). "Missing Wuhan citizen journalist reappears after two months". The Guardian. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Fang Bin is second Chinese citizen journalist to vanish while reporting from coronavirus epicentre". South China Morning Post. February 14, 2020.
  8. ^ Li, Jane (February 12, 2020). "Another citizen journalist covering the coronavirus has gone missing in Wuhan". Quartz.