The Chinese government will now target and prosecute thousands of Chinese that went online to berate the government's handling of the Covid-19 epidemic. The government has started this tough measure to clamp down on speech by different doctors, nurses, independent journalists, foreign journalists are kicked out of the country and critics of the government have now been detained.
More than 5,000 people have gone missing, detained, and information they had put online deleted, in a war led himself by the Chinese President Xi Jinping himself. Also, around 897 cases have been documented for different online speeches and information they had shared during the epidemic in Wuhan.
According to the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), 467 in February were sanctioned and some of the punishments they have melted out includes, administrative detention, criminal detention, enforced disappearance, fines, warnings/interrogations, forced confessions and 'educational reprimand.
The charges brought against people includes, "rumour-mongering," "fabricating false information," “sowing panic,” “disturbing public order,” and "breach of privacy." Seven doctors were also warned not to speak publicly again about the virus after questioning.
Citizen journalist and lawyer Chen Qiushi have not been reachable since February 6th after he started a live streaming in a hospital in Wuhan, rights activist and citizen journalist Fang Bin have also been detained since Feb 9th and former anchor with state broadcaster CCTV, Li Zehua, can't be reached as well since Feb. 26th.
Property tycoon Ren Zhiqiang is now under party investigation after an essay where he criticized President Xi on March 12.