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Journalist who ‘disappeared’ after Wuhan chase reappears

Journalist who ‘disappeared’ after Wuhan chase reappears

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

On Wednesday he published a video saying he spent two weeks 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 is a citizen journalist who went to Wuhan in February, after another journalist, Chen Qiushi, went missing. In his first video from Wuhan he explained why we were there.

“Before I entered Wuhan, a friend who worked in 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 good news about the patients’ recovery and so on. Of course, it remains uncertain whether that’s true because this is just what I heard from my friends.”

His stories included an alleged cover-up of infections and a busy crematorium. They were watched millions of times on Chinese platforms, YouTube, and Twitter.

What happened on 26 February?
In the new video, Li Zehua, who is thought to be 25, said he was driving in Wuhan when people in another car told him to stop.

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

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

He turned off the light 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 station, 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 need to be quarantined.