The clamping down of information coming from China about the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan just went off the air. Chinese citizen journalists Chen Qiushi and Fang Bin, have been sending reports from Wuhan since the outbreak. Through them, other than state sponsored news, they gave the real situation in the area. However, one has gone missing under certain circumstances.
Chen is now out of touch and nowhere to be found in the last 20 hours. His fellow, Fang has not posted anything, until last Friday. He was arrested capturing video of corpses inside a hospital, which is banned by state-media. Soon after, his apartment was forcibly opened without any reason, and he was taken away to be quarantined. But it was not to be taken lightly, because of Chen's reports, people are now critical of the government's motives.
China's iron fist on media censorship and clamping down has never been so tight. Both Chen and Fang's ordeals are now the scuttlebutt on American social media. Government censors are now shutting down, or do targeted supervision to stop the hysteria from spreading. Weibo , WeChat, and Douyin are now placed under watch and posts regulated. Posts about the Wuhan doctor are taken down and Chinese are reminded to toe the line about sensitive information.
Accessing Twitter is not possible, and the people cannot get the information to protect themselves for the disease. News does stream in by via contraband networks that pose a problem to the Chinese controllers. At the same time, exposing more citizens with similar situations as Chen.
Human Rights Watch has taken interest in the non-transparency of the Chinese authorities. Maya Wang said that other than Weibo and WeChat, Twitter is less scrutinized under an iron heel. But since the information clamp down, information is dreadfully minute as censors are keen to "regulate" information availability.
Chen sought to get information and inform about the coronavirus and this epidemic. Local officials have little documentation of the real-deal in hospitals. News outfits like Bloomberg need to verify the videos, whether it is real or not. Chen and Fang are now at the heart of the controversy of the government's actions.
Citizens got information from Twitter and other happenings that were not allowed to be shown by state media control. Eventual loss of information will place the Chinese populace at the hands of the epidemic and controlled information.
The Communist Party is controlling information for the prevention of hysteria, panic for protection, from the worsening coronavirus outbreak. Though everything is now reaching a level that is akin to what is already happening.
This week many WeChat members are now unable to access their accounts when the coronavirus is the topic of the thread. Losing their accounts affected users by an inability to get money through linked accounts. Everyone online, must stick to the rules or they'll face consequences of their actions. Thus, mentioning the coronavirus outbreak is taboo for them.
Chen is not accounted for as of this writing. His whereabouts is unknown although he could be concerned about personal safety while Fang Bin is not yet missing.