Blogger who posted videos of Wuhan hospitals early in pandemic released from prison

Archive – Doctors at a hospital in Wuhan. – -/TPG via ZUMA Press/dpa

Fang Bin, a Chinese blogger arrested in 2020 for posting videos about the situation in Wuhan hospitals at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been released, although Chinese authorities have denied him entry to Beijing.

U.S.-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) has detailed that Bin, 48, classified as a »citizen journalist,» was released on Sunday, after which he went to Beijing to live with his son. He was reportedly refused entry by the Beijing authorities.

Bin was detained after posting videos on social media of body-wrapping bags and overcrowded hospitals in Wuhan, after which he was sentenced to three years in prison for »causing trouble and quarrels» in a case much like that of lawyer Zhang Zhan, 39, who also reported the virus outbreak and was sentenced to four years in prison on the same charges.

After his arrest in May 2020, Bin went on a hunger strike that caused him to lose weight dramatically. Since the start of the pandemic in late 2019 in Wuhan, China arrested several activists who were trying to report what was happening at ‘ground zero’.

China has officially reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) alone some 120,000 deaths caused by the virus, almost half of them this winter. However, various estimates put the death toll in China at around one million.