Detained, missing, close to death: the toll of reporting on Covid in China
Activists say crackdown is driven by Xi Jinping, who has ‘declared a war on independent journalism’
Chen Kun was living in Indonesia with his wife and daughter when he learned from his brother Mei’s boss that he had been “taken away for investigation” by Chinese police.
He immediately suspected it was to do with his brother’s website, a citizen news project called Terminus 2049. Since 2018 Mei, his colleague Cai Wei, and Cai’s partner – surnamed Tang – had been archiving articles about issues including #MeToo and migrant rights, and reposting them whenever they were deleted from China’s strictly monitored and censored online platforms. It was April 2020, and for the last few months Terminus 2049 had been targeting stories about the Covid-19 outbreak and response.