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A Chinese journalist who disappeared two months ago after being chased and detained while reporting the coronavirus in Wuhan reappeared in a video posted online.
Li Zehua was last seen on February 26 when he posted a video where he was chased by a white SUV. He broadcast his detention live later that day, when security officers entered the apartment where he was staying.
On Wednesday a new video was posted on the profiles of Li, Twitter, Weibo and YouTube, where the 25-year-old explained that he spent much of the past two months in quarantine.
In the video, Li, in front of a white background and speaking in a calm tone, says that when men entered his apartment on February 26, he was informed that he was being investigated on charges of disturbing public order.
Although he was not charged, he was quarantined – first in Wuhan, but later in his hometown – for visiting "sensitive areas". Li said that his devices were removed from him in quarantine, but that he received enough food and was allowed to watch Chinese news on the night.
"During that time, the police made sure that I had rest and food, civil and according to the law. They really cared about me," he says in the video.
"Thank you to all the people who took care of me and cared about me. I hope that all people who suffer in this epidemic will be able to recover their health soon. God bless China. I hope the world can come together."
The words are quite different from how Li, who has worked briefly for state television station CCTV in the past, spoke in the videos he posted while reporting to Wuhan, including reports on efforts to cover up new infections and interviews with overworked crematorium staff.
China has a history of transmission of forced confessions on state TV, although this video is different because it was posted directly to Li's social media profiles.
"There are many things that we don't understand. We want to know more, we need to understand what's going on. But they don't want us to know what we want to know, they want us to know what they want us to know," he said in his Wuhan's first video in February. "That's why I'm here."
Li's videos have been watched millions of times online, on Weibo, but also on YouTube and Twitter.
Chen, the journalist who disappeared before Li's arrival in Wuhan, is still missing, according to a Twitter account managed by friends. The whereabouts of another Wuhan journalist, Fang Bin, are also unknown.