China Watch: Surveillance State Nabs Whistleblower

China Watch: Surveillance State Nabs Whistleblower

China Watch: Surveillance State Nabs Whistleblower

No, Donald Trump’s Nazi Surveillance State did not arrest Eric Ciaramella, the alleged “whistleblower” who leaked Trump’s Ukrainian phone call. Nor would Trump’s administration do that, despite the fact that the Ciaramella’s identity is DC’s worst kept secret. Because America is not a totalitarian state run by Hitler Redux, despite what progressives may tell you.

But China is a surveillance state. And it appears that it nabbed another citizen journalist who has blown the lid off the coronavirus disaster in Wuhan.

His name is Chen Qiushi, and his is a name you should know because Chen has more cajones than the protected Ciaramella.

Chen is a former lawyer who doesn’t even live in Wuhan. However, he traveled to the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak on January 24, just as authorities locked the city down. Chen visited hospitals, funeral parlors, and quarantine centers. He then uploaded his videos online.

Why did he do such a thing? Didn’t Chen, a former lawyer, know he was risking his freedom, maybe even his life?

As he said in his first video upon arriving in Wuhan:

“I’ve said before that I’m a citizen journalist. What kind of journalist am I if I don’t rush to the front line when there is a disaster? I will use my camera to witness and document what is really happening under Wuhan’s efforts to contain the outbreak. And I’m willing to help spread the voice of Wuhan people to the outside world. While I’m here, I promise I won’t start or spread rumors. I won’t create fear or panic, nor would I cover up the truth.”

But China’s surveillance state caught up with him, and now Chen has been missing since last week.

Chinese netizens are speaking out, angry that he may become another Li Wenliang, the doctor who died of coronavirus after reporting on China’s cover-up. One user of Weibo, China’s social media platform, posted this:

“Chen Qiushi cannot become another Li Wenliang! China must let people speak out! There are no superheroes in this world, just regular people who stand up.”

Another wrote:

“Kill me and ten thousand other versions of me will come out.”

In addition, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement from Washington, DC:

“Authorities in Wuhan must disclose whether they are holding journalist Chen Qiushi. If they are, then he should be released immediately. China does not seem to have learned the clear lesson that bottling up the truth about a spreading illness will only make matters worse.”

Amazingly, this is not Chen Qiushi’s first run-in with Chinese authorities. In August, Chen visited Hong Kong to report on its pro-democracy protests. He dared to broadcast an opinion that went against the official Chinese narrative of protestors as nothing but “rioters.” For his efforts, Beijing authorities called Chen back, questioned him, and deleted his social media accounts. However, by October, he was back in business on YouTube, and even though China bans YouTube, thousands of Chen’s followers use virtual private networks to follow him.

Chen explained:

“Since freedom of speech is a basic citizen’s right written into article 35 of the Chinese constitution, I need to persist because I think this is the right thing to do, no matter how much pressure and obstruction (I) encounter.”

But if you ask Ciu Tianki, Chinese ambassador to the US, about Chen Qiushi, he will plead ignorance. When asked about Chen in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Ciu said this:

“I’m sorry, I have never heard of this guy. So I don’t have any information to share with you.”

Which, of course, is a bald-faced lie.

No one in China can hide from its surveillance state. The totalitarian nation uses phone scanners, facial recognition cameras, and face and fingerprint data to keep tabs on its citizens. And while the US may use some of these technologies to follow terrorists or drug kingpins, Chinese police use them to track everyone.


Credit: DELACROIX@flickr/CC BY 2.0.

As one technology worker in southern China said:

“Each person’s data forms a trail. It can be used by the government and it can be used by bosses at the big companies to track us. Our lives are worth about as much as dirt.”

Now, in Wuhan, authorities are using that same surveillance network to enforce quarantines and lockdowns. It even uses drones to follow people in the streets.

So of course Chinese authorities knew exactly where Chen Qiushi was and what he was posting. There was no way he could escape the surveillance state. What’s truly amazing is that he was willing to risk his life to expose the breadth of Chinese cover-up of the coronavirus disaster. Forget Eric Ciamarella — Chen Qiushi is a true example of the little guy speaking truth to power.


Featured image: tsmr/pixabay/cropped/pixabay license.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

1 Comment
  • GWB says:

    It even uses drones to follow people in the streets.
    They are also using drones to deliver necessities and such, though. So, I’m going to give the edge to Drones Are Good on this one.

    And kudos to the Chinese who are risking themselves to document what’s really going on.

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