Li Zehua: Journalist who 'disappeared' after Wuhan chase reappears



  • A Chinese journalist who was chased then detained in Wuhan - the centre of the country’s virus outbreak - has reappeared after almost two months.

    Li Zehua broadcast the chase and his detention by police on 26 February, and had not been seen publicly since.

    On Wednesday he published a video saying he spent fortnight in “quarantine” in Wuhan, followed by more quarantine in his home town.

    He was told the quarantine was needed as he’d been to “sensitive areas”.
    Who is Li Zehua?

    Li Zehua may be a citizen journalist who visited Wuhan in February, after another journalist, Chen Qiushi, went missing. In his first video from Wuhan he explained why we was there.

    "Before I entered Wuhan, a lover who worked within the Chinese mainstream media told me… all the bad news about the epidemic has been collected by the central government.

    “The local media can only report the great news about the patients’ recovery then on. Of course, it remains uncertain whether that’s true, because this is often just what I heard from my friends.”

    His stories included an alleged cover-up of infections, and a busy crematorium. They were watched many times on Chinese platforms, YouTube, and Twitter.
    What happened on 26 February?

    In the new video, Li Zehua, who is assumed to be 25, said he was driving in Wuhan when people in another car told him to prevent .

    Instead of stopping, he sped up, saying he was “confused” and in “fear”. He was chased and drove for 30km [19 miles], with a part of the journey uploaded to YouTube with the title “SOS”.

    He received his accommodation and commenced live-streaming before “several” people in police or security uniforms knocked on a near-by door.

    Why have two reporters in Wuhan disappeared?

    He turned off the sunshine and sat silently while the officers knocked on other doors, and eventually his. He ignored them but three hours later they knocked again.

    He opened the door and was taken to a police headquarters , where he had fingerprints and blood samples taken, before being taken to an “interrogation room”.

    He was told he was “suspected of disturbing public order”, but was told there would be no penalty.

    However, because he had been to “sensitive epidemic areas”, he would wish to be quarantined.
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    What happened next?

    Li Zehua was taken by the captain to quarantine accommodation in Wuhan, where his electronic devices were taken.

    He stayed there for 2 weeks, saying he was “safe” and was ready to watch Chinese TV news.

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    He was then driven to a quarantine centre in his home town for an additional fortnight , before getting to stick with his family.

    “During the entire process, the police enforced law during a civilised manner, ensured my rest time and food. They also cared about me considerably ,” he said.

    "After finishing the quarantine, i have been with my family. Now I’m planning for my development during this year.

    “I’m grateful to all or any the people that taken care of me and cared about me. I wish all people suffering the epidemic can pull through. God bless China. I wish the planet can unite together.”

    Chen Qiushi remains missing, consistent with a Twitter account travel by friends. He has been out of contact for 75 days.

    Another journalist who reported from Wuhan, Fang Bin, has also not been heard from since February.



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