‘Disappeared’: The disturbing way China treats its dissenters and whistleblowers

FPI / July 20, 2020

Commentary by Jason Orestes

What China doesn’t like, it assumes control over. If you say something the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) disapproves of, you often end up just disappearing or fleeing the country.

It’s not unheard of at all for people who speak out against communist policy to just go missing. Lately, however, there’s been more of a disturbing trend.

Ren Zhiqiang, left, and Xioa Jianhua are among the ‘disappeared.’

Chinese virologist Dr. Li-Meng Yan sounded the alarm on the coronavirus and spread the word that China knew about the communicability of the Wuhan virus well before admitting it. She then had to flee to Hong Kong and then the U.S. to avoid CCP capture.

“The reason I came to the U.S. is because I deliver the message of the truth of COVID” Yan stated, adding that she’d be “disappeared and killed” if she remained in China. She was one of the first to study the virus and warned early of the human-to-human transmission of it. China sought to censor and lie about this to the world, and those who said otherwise like Yan were not tolerated.

Related: Chinese virologist was warned by boss before fleeing to U.S.: ‘We’ll be disappeared’, July 10, 2020

Yan is not an isolated incident. Numerous whistleblowers and journalists have been essentially abducted by CCP authorities for reporting honestly on the coronavirus situation. One man posted a video of the body bags outside an over-capacity hospital during the time China claimed the virus was under control. The video was taken down, and the man has subsequently gone missing for months.

This draconian and blatantly evil behavior goes beyond just coronavirus scientists.

Xioa Jianhua is the owner of Tomorrow Group: an investment conglomerate with up to 40 financial institutions within its network. He was taken from a hotel in Hong Kong by the CCP in 2017, having fled China and residing there for several years in hiding. It was recently announced that Chinese authorities will now seize nine of his affiliated financial firms. Xioa, who has been estimated to be worth around $6 billion, has not been seen in public since.

The CCP’s financial regulatory arm claims this is due to business violations and debt-fueled activity that places the economy and markets at risk. However Tomorrow Group has lashed out at the authoritarian seizures (a criticism since removed from their social media), “The regulators have been pushing hard on the takeovers, so some of them can become corporate executives to delay their retirement. How much trade-off of fortune and power is behind this?” it said.

As China’s stock market rockets higher in the face of a weak economic backdrop due to their criminal mishandling and lies about the coronavirus, this seizure looks to be motivated to exert greater influence over what’s already a state-controlled economy.

Another billionaire and outspoken critic of the Communist Party, Ren Zhiqiang, has recently been missing for several days ever since an article he wrote that was critical of how China mishandled the coronavirus and infected the world as a result. The article pulled no punches in its excoriation of the coronavirus cover-up and outbreak, as well as the gaslighting propaganda by the CCP as it tries to spin all this as a “success” by Beijing.

While the CCP hasn’t stated Ren’s disappearance is due to the castigating article, it should be clear by now that people going missing after making statements or taking actions that don’t tow the Communist Party lines is no coincidence.

China is notorious for misinformation and censorship, and more and more this type of behavior is transcending the digital realm and resulting in honest Chinese citizens being abused and removed from society. Opacity is a hallmark of much of China’s inner workings as the Communist Party keeps an incredibly heavy thumb on information that leaves the country and how the party is portrayed.

We’re used to seeing hamfisted crackdowns on citizens who recount the Tiananmen Square massacre or make political statements that the CCP finds sensitive. We’re now seeing an incredibly troubling trend of those who attempt to speak objectively Chinese occurrences — paradoxically the kind of activity that would foster greater trust in China — having their freedoms and possibly lives taken. Or in the case of Jianhua, their resources commandeered in the name of control.

Jason Orestes (@market_noises) is a former Wall Street financial analyst who focuses on contemporary political developments affecting economics, markets, and culture. His commentary can be found on Washington Examiner, TheStreet, MSN Money, RealClearMarkets, and RealClearPolitics.

FPI, Free Press International