GOP Congressman Wants To Know What Happened To Three Chinese Reporters That Vanished
GOP Rep. from Indiana Jim Banks sent a letter to the U.S. State Department Wednesday, seeking to open an investigation into the disappearance of 3 journalists in China. The journalists had notably challenged the Chinese regime by reporting on the coronavirus back during the earliest stages of the virus.
“All three of these men understood the personal risk associated with independently reporting on coronavirus in China, but they did it anyway,” Banks wrote in a letter to Acting Undersecretary of State Nathan Sales, whose portfolio includes human rights abroad.
“They decided that they had an obligation to do what the Chinese Communist Party would not—provide useful and accurate information to the Chinese public about the risks and potential consequences of coronavirus,” Banks continued. “For their service, the Chinese government imprisoned them — or worse.”
Fang Bin, Chen Quishi and Li Zehua — the three missing journalists — haven’t been seen since February, DailyCaller noted.
China's censorship policies came under scrutiny since the virus outbreak amid allegations from online critics and local media that they potentially obscured the seriousness of the outbreak in its early stages.
Many believe that China continues to censor reporting on the coronavirus and doubt the low infected numbers the communist country claims to have.
The Chinese Embassy and the State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
While the State Department is under no obligation to follow through on Mr Banks' request, the Trump administration has put in place a number of measures cracking down against China that were first proposed by hardliners in Congress.
The virus, which has become a global pandemic, first emerged in Wuhan in late December, sickening tens of thousands and upending life in the industrial city of 11 million people in central China.
Fang Bin, a Wuhan clothes salesman, began filming his trips to hospitals around the locked-down city and posting the videos online in late January. The scenes showed long lines outside hospitals, patients clinging to life, and distraught family members.
Chen Qiushi, a 34-year-old lawyer-turned-citizen-journalist from eastern China, arrived in Wuhan on Jan. 24, a day after the city was placed under lockdown. Armed with a smartphone, he said he wanted to document stories about the city’s residents.
In just over two weeks, he published more than 100 posts on his YouTube and Twitter accounts—both platforms are banned in China—that drew millions of views. He filmed interviews with locals who had lost loved ones, patients lying on temporary beds lining hospital hallways, and, according to Chen, a body left under a blanket outside an emergency ward.
Li Zehua, a former anchor for Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, was the third video blogger arrested in the outbreak epicenter of Wuhan. Li arrived alone in Wuhan by train on Feb. 12, tracing the steps of Chen Qiushi and Fang Bin, who had been arrested by local police.
The pursuit of justice for these journalists is not the only thing Banks wants done about China's censored reporting. Breitbart wrote:
Jim Banks (R-IN) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) introduced a bill condemning the Chinese government for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, in a sign of bipartisan anger against China.
The bill expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the “Governmentof the People’s Republic of China made multiple, serious mistakes in the early stages of the COVID–19 outbreak that heightened the severity and spread of the ongoing COVID–19 pandemic.”
In a Stament Moultree wrote that "the Chinese Communist Party’s leaders responded to the coronavirus outbreak first with disinformation and misdirection. China’s leaders kicked out American journalists who were covering the virus’ spread and the lives it claimed. China’s leaders silenced doctors, some of whom died sounding the alarm to the world. And while the clock was ticking, China’s leaders were focused on spreading propaganda that said the American military caused the virus, downplaying its severity."
My statement on the House resolution condemning the Chinese government's response to COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/WGCfTIW69L
— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) March 24, 2020
Adding that we Americans should hold their representatives accountable and that Congress should hold China accountable.
All fair and reasonable demands, really. The virus first began in Wuhan China and slow or little reporting prevented a more timely response from other nations. Including misinformation about the severity of the virus.
What do you think? Should the U.S. go after China's leadership for aiding the spread of this pandemic? Let me know in the comments below.