Report By: Nandika Chand | Last Updated June 15, 2020
China has detained two activists for the last two months for sharing censored document in the initial days of the COVID-19 outbreak. Chen Mei and Cai Wei had published articles about the health crisis on the world’s largest open-source website, GitHub. The duo, since 2018, have been publishing articles which were blocked or removed by censors from mainstream Chinese media and online platforms.
Mei and Wei published censored information through crowdfunded Terminus 2049 project. Their works have also been related to the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.
The duo have covered issues about eviction of poor migrant workers from their homes. One of their works that caught people’s attention was an interview with Ai Fen, a whistle-blower doctor at Wuhan Central Hospital. This was first published by China’s People magazine in early March. However, it was removed.
Family members said the police picked up the two activists in Beijing on April 9. Mei and Wei have been formally arrested and are being kept at the Chaoyang District Detention Center. Mei’s brother, Chen Kun told reporters that the police informed them that Meu and Wei applied for legal aid. He said this was a clear attempt to keep the family’s hired lawyers from intervening.
The family lawyer, Liang Xiaojun said the activists had been charged with ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble’. He said this was often used by Chinese authorities to target activists and dissidents.