An online petition titled “Save Independent Reporter CHEN Qiushi and Brave Wuhan Citizen FANG Bin” was created on 8 February, calling for the White House to act on the issue of two missing Chinese reporters, Chen Qiushi and Fang Bin, allegedly due to their extensive coverage in Wuhan during the coronavirus outbreak.
The petition creator, A.D. said that the two reporters had published multiple videos, showing what was actually happening in Wuhan during the coronavirus epidemic. However, they apparently disappeared after their families were unable to get in touch with them.
According to TIME, Chen Qiushi, who is a freelance video journalist, had gone missing on 6 February after he filmed and reported on the coronavirus crisis in the state’s hospital of Wuhan.
The video filmed by Mr Chen touched on the difficulties that the local hospital encountered, which includes lack of resources and overflowing of patients that needed treatment.
— TIME (@TIME) February 12, 2020
Following the disappearance of Mr Chen, a Wuhan resident, Fang Bin who also filmed scenes from the local hospital which featured body bags, was arrested, as reported by Hong Kong media.
The creator of the petition noted that the two reporters were presumably detained by the local authorities with the reason of “quarantine”, according to Xu Xiaodong, a famous MMA fighter of China who also claimed to be a friend of Mr Chen.
“Based on the Chinese government’s notoriety, local officials may claim them as dead from the virus, in spite of the many reports of survival with medical intervention,” he added, noting his concern over the safety of the two reporters.
Hence, the creator urged members of the public to sign the petition, so that the request to take action will be submitted to the Congress members and legislators, in order to save the innocent people.
At the time of writing, the petition has garnered over 78,000 supporters. The aim is to reach 100,000 signatures before 9 March.