Coronavirus conspiracy theories arise after an outspoken critic of the epidemic suddenly went missing.
A truth-teller went missing
On the recent happenings in Wuhan, China, over the deadly coronavirus outbreak, a cause of concern and havoc emerges from conspiracy theories leaking out on social media sites everywhere. Especially now that one of the coronavirus whistleblowers, Doctor Li Wenliang, has already died from the virus itself.
Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist in Wuhan, first broke the news regarding a potential Severe Acute Respiratory Virus (SARS) spreading in Wuhan, early in December. The Police detained him for rumormongering conspiracy theories, and officials are downplaying the extent of the disease and its possible risks to the public.
Then there is Chen Qiushi, a citizen journalist, known recently in Wuhan for shedding out critical and aggressive reports regarding the real deal at the center of the epidemic. Chen went missing Thursday evening, which leaves thousands of people wondering what happened.
Conspiracy theories create fear
This is not the first time that Chen has meddled with affairs concerning China. In August, he reported about what’s happening in Hong Kong, questioning how Chinese authorities call protesters as rioters and separatists. In his video, he showed the peaceful side of the protesters, quoting, “not all of them are rioters.”
Chen got the attention of Chinese authorities, which led to him being called back to Beijing for further questioning. As a sanction, all of his major social media accounts were deleted, along with his previous video broadcasts.
Since freedom of speech is a basic citizen’s right, as stated in article 35 of the Chinese constitution, I will continue to do the things I deemed to be right, no matter the restraint and threats I encounter along the way.
During the blowout of the coronavirus disease in Wuhan, Chen decided to travel to the center of the issue, to check whether conspiracy theories do hold an argument on the current epidemic. He arrived a day before the Wuhan lockdown. During his stay, he was uploading contents about the actual information he sees on the ground. He was the voice of the people suffering in Wuhan, and the eyes of the people outside.
Chen provided sensitive information that was not available to the international community, and this made his friends grow wary about how the Chinese government might deal with him.
On Thursday night, he suddenly went missing and unreachable by his friends. The following day, a video message was uploaded on his Twitter page, Chen’s mother asking for help on the disappearance of his son. Chen’s account is now being managed by a trusted friend, in cases like this might happen.
Later in the evening, another video, posted on YouTube, with the mother’s message that Chen was forcedly taken for quarantine purposes. This statement has drawn out several speculations and conspiracy theories on his real whereabouts. Chen was in contact looked very fine and healthy, and doesn’t show any sign worthy of a quarantine. Both Wuhan and Qingdao police also have no actual whereabouts on the current location of Chen.
Chen is a sensitive topic in China, and it seems quite questionable for the mainstream media did not report about his disappearance. People from social media platforms in China and internationally are awaiting any update on Chen’s whereabouts.