Li Zehua, who also goes by Kcriss Li, in a February 16 video alleging a cover-up in Wuhan, China.
A reporter in Wuhan, China, who disappeared two months ago while investigating a coronavirus-related cover-up reemerged on Wednesday and praised the police who tracked him down.
Li Zehua had interviewed people infected with the coronavirus and documented claims of a cover-up on his YouTube page. He disappeared on February 26.
In a video published Wednesday, he said the police detained him on suspicion of disrupting public order but didn’t charge him, placing him under supervised quarantine instead.
“Throughout the whole process, police officers acted civil and legally, making sure that I was resting and eating well,” Li said. “They really cared for me.”
In a video filmed before his disappearance, Li said, “I’m doing this because I hope more young people can, like me, stand up.”
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A Chinese citizen journalist who vanished two months ago while investigating a coronavirus cover-up in Wuhan has reappeared, praising the police who detained him.
In February, Li Zehua, who also goes by Kcriss Li, interviewed Wuhan residents infected with the coronavirus and was investigating allegations of a local effort to cover up new infections. He posted his reporting in videos on YouTube, Twitter, and the microblogging platform Weibo. (YouTube and Twitter are blocked in China, but many citizens use virtual private networks, or VPNs, to bypass censors.)
Just before 6 p.m. on February 26, Li was followed home by a white SUV whose occupants were yelling at him to pull over. He made it home, 30 kilometers away, and started livestreaming a video about the chase.
That was the last time he was heard for 56 days.
But on Wednesday, Li posted a new video on his social-media accounts explaining what happened to him.
Li said that after the car chase, officers in security uniforms and hazmat suits knocked on his door. He didn’t respond, and the people went away.
Three hours later, officers arrived at his apartment again and took him to a police station — you can see this around the three-minute, 14-second mark in the video above.
The officers then told Li he was being detained on suspicion of disrupting public order but chose not to charge him, Li said.
A video showing police officers inside Li’s apartment.
Li said the police told him that because he had been in “sensitive epidemic areas,” he had to go into quarantine. China has reportedly confined multiple whistleblowers and critics to house arrest under the pretext of quarantine during the pandemic.
Li said he was let go on March 28 and had been spending time with family.
But in stark contrast to the tone of his reporting from Wuhan, Li’s latest video saw him heap praise on the police who detained him.
“Throughout the whole process, police officers acted civil and legally, making sure that I was resting and eating well. They really cared for me,” Li said.
“I had three meals a day, felt safe with guards, and got to watch the news every day.”
He added: “Thank you everyone who took care and were concerned for me! I hope that everyone suffering in the epidemic get well soon. May God bless China and people in the world unite.”
A video of Li working out while in quarantine posted on YouTube on Wednesday.
YouTube/ Li Kcriss
In several of his older videos, Li stressed that something had gone wrong in Wuhan and that he felt it was his duty to document citizens’ grievances.
“I don’t want to remain silent or shut my eyes and ears. It’s not that I can’t have a nice life with a wife and kids. I can. I’m doing this because I hope more young people can, like me, stand up,” he said in one video.
Li’s motto, splashed across graphics on his YouTube page, is “never give up.”
Li is among several journalists and whistleblowers in China who have been silenced after criticizing the government during the coronavirus crisis.
Alexandra Ma contributed reporting.
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