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China Is Censoring Coronavirus Stories. These Citizens Are Fighting Back. | NYT News

March 1, 2020


Voices like these from Chinese
citizens are very rare. People who are
willing to speak out about the government’s
attempts to control news about the deadly coronavirus. They asked to
remain anonymous, because what
they’re doing could put them and their
families at great risk. But these people are part of a
new wave of Chinese citizens, fighting to get
the message out in a country that aggressively
censors information. Accounts or messages like
these calling for free speech are quickly scrubbed
from the internet. Or videos like this, showing
people frustrated about life under lockdown. [clanging] Posted online one day,
but gone the next. But the crisis over
the coronavirus is changing the landscape,
for now at least. Everyday citizens are
preserving and reposting information the government
doesn’t want out there. Experts say this kind
of digital resistance is happening at a scale
they’ve never seen before. Social media networks like
YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China. But internet savvy
people use techniques that allow them to
repost censored content to these platforms, while
staying under the radar of authorities. They’re creating
a visual archive by preserving videos
like this one, showing overwhelmed hospitals. [screaming] And they’re reposting
people’s personal stories. Some are also turning to
less obvious platforms, including GitHub, which is a
site mostly used by coders. Another taboo Chinese
citizens are pushing back on? They’re making open
and widespread calls for freedom of speech. These were triggered by the
death of Dr. Li Wenliang. He was an early whistleblower
who warned about the virus, and was punished by
officials for speaking out. He died in early February
from the coronavirus. Right after his
death, the hashtag “I want freedom of
speech” started to trend on Weibo, a Chinese
social media site. Then, it was quickly
censored by the government. Dr. Li’s become an icon
in the online fight for freedom of speech
between censors and citizens. So, who’s winning? For now, citizens are
staying a step ahead of the authorities. But a renewed
government crackdown could test the strength of
this digital resistance.

100 Comments

  • Reply Muyi Xiao February 26, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Hi, I am Muyi, one of the producers of this video. Thank you all for watching. I recently joined The Times Visual Investigations team. If you have any questions regarding the video, please feel free to post them in comments, I'll try my best to answer. Thank you!
    大家好,我是这个视频的制片人之一。感谢大家观看。我最近加入《纽约时报》的视觉调查组。如果你对这个视频有任何问题,请在评论区留言,我会尽力回答。再次感谢!

  • Reply Pensky Material February 29, 2020 at 9:44 am

    The world is with the Chinese people! Glad to see they become aware of how much they are beeing opressed daily!

  • Reply JACKIE LIN February 29, 2020 at 10:29 am

    作为一个中国人,你们看看这个
    As a Chinese I recomend you guys to go check this out.
    你们会意识到ccp的邪恶。意大利不一样。
    You will realize how evil CCP is, but Italy is totally different.

    手动狗头保命
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/afp-report-italian-lockdown-perfectly-neutral-china-lockdowns-cavolo?trk=related_artice_AFP%20Report%20on%20Italian%20Lockdown%20Perfectly%20Neutral%2C%20But%20China%20Lockdowns%20Demonized%20by%20Legacy%20Media.%20Enough!_article-card_title

  • Reply Lazir Modernwarung February 29, 2020 at 10:58 am

    china goverment..
    hear your people..
    dont be stupid and coward..
    keep spirit

  • Reply Lucia Luna February 29, 2020 at 11:18 am

    I think doctor li was killed by the government

  • Reply Lola gao February 29, 2020 at 11:41 am

    Chinese government is invesgating the case of Li wenliang.He is a hero to us for sure.I hope no one will use him as a way to earn themselves something.Only God knows.I've seen all the clips in this video.Truth to be told,I don't need to watch them to know how much sacrifice the people in Wuhan had made.I think you should also mention how they help each other and how people outside Wuhan help them.Otherwise,Isn't a bias?Words are blades.I hope you use them wisely.Chinese government did an amazing job to contain the virus.I hope the virus will disappear asap,and the bias as well.

  • Reply JakulaithWolff February 29, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    This feels like some anime story. Especially when I saw that cool girl with badass mask somewhere at the start. I wonder if it will later inspire a production.

  • Reply Bani Avedillo February 29, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    Continue doing what you believe in provided you be careful not to be caught by ccp. Goodluck.

  • Reply lawrence mccoy February 29, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    thank you….

  • Reply Birds blues February 29, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    Corona virus is man made by the government to control the population rate and I think it's gone out of control to the point that it may wipe out human kind as a hole.

  • Reply Woody Macajoux February 29, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    The American government failed is for letting the coronoviris enter United states with the help of the Chinese

  • Reply Mrsushi1011 February 29, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    The ccp must die. My prayers are with the people of china.

  • Reply Alien Bounce February 29, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    China needs Trump

  • Reply MX February 29, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    All the gov are same. But technically, for control any outbreak, we have to stop people from panic.Or more people will die.

  • Reply Belinda Jimenez February 29, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    Keep spreading the word keep strong and make history

  • Reply Ontime Edu February 29, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    You uploaded really nice Video.!
    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
    #OntimeEdu from India
    ❤️❤️🇮🇳🇮🇳🤗🤗🌸

  • Reply FastDucky Gaming February 29, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Guys, do u think one government can take care of 1.4 billion people?
    Hospitals can’t hold too much ppls, y’all know

  • Reply Maria DC February 29, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    FREE ASSANGE! X🇺🇸

  • Reply Park Queens February 29, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    As long as NYT lives, I know China gets a chance. Thank you, NYT. haha The more people believe you, the better.

  • Reply allah kudar February 29, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Beware to China you are all under surveillance and spying you in the internet like the Huawei they said they are not spying why they are control the internet thats my question

  • Reply Far Peace King February 29, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    This is a special time. Do you think this is a holiday? Even on vacation, one may still feel dissatisfied! I know someone died without treatment. But those medical forces are not idle. When someone is dying, those paramedics and ambulance drivers are not drinking, watching TV, or browsing the web. The cumulative number of confirmed cases in Wuhan exceeds 48,000. Wuhan lacks medical staff and medical substances. Places outside China just treat this as a piece of news. Have your government or people or yourself thought about helping China? No, you don't. You don’t even think about asking: Hello, Chinese, do you need help? How can we help you? No, you won't, because you don't care about the disaster in China at all, you just want to see how embarrassed the Chinese government is. Does the same thing happen in your country, and your so-called free speech country can do better than China? If so, I hope this virus can spread to the whole world and let the Chinese people study your system. Sincerely, I hope that such a virus will spread to the whole world, even if it is the enemy of the world, I don’t care too, because China has done so much and sacrificed so much, but it is still criticized. I feel very aggrieved.

  • Reply Sunset Hobi February 29, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    If you very worried about your safety in America, don’t worry, the mortality rate here is only 1%

  • Reply Far Peace King February 29, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    拉几个不满意者来发声,就算是记录真实的武汉吗?你们以为这是在度假吗?我们有言论管制,当然。可是,这不是正在解决吗?要不然,建火神山、雷神山干嘛?要不然,调动全国医疗队伍干嘛?难道不应该言论管制吗?是不是要人心慌慌,把武汉人都吓得突围封锁线了,这样就得救了呢?来,你来告诉我!有脑子想过没有,你能刷着微博、抖音,看武汉人的困难,装人间圣母,是因为你住的地方没有病例或没这么严重。真要是武汉人整天看着这类新闻,觉得武汉是座死城了,就突破封锁了,然后就在你小区、你隔壁了,我看你还怎么装圣母。

    没错,有人得不到救治去世了,可是,就在这个人奄奄一息的时候,医护人员不是在睡大觉,救护车也不是在睡大觉,人家没有歇着,没有在刷抖音。就在某些人苦心搜集着黑材料,发着微博的时候,人家是在忙着救人的,多救一个是一个。就算不是湖北的中国人,也在努力地想办法应对好吗。

    我虽然也指责武汉市政府在前期暴露出很多问题,可是,经过此次疫情,我很清楚,如果不是这样的中国政府,武汉、湖北甚至整个中国,会更多人感染,会更多人死亡。某些政治对立的势力或者个人,你们也别装了,明着是同情武汉死了这么多人,实际上心里却想着要是再多死点,大家都反了就好了。医疗物资紧缺、医护人员紧缺、有些医护人员过量工作、很多人可能得不到治疗就去世了,特别是后面这种情况,新闻不会报道,可是,想想也知道。那要怎么样呢?你有更好的办法吗?

  • Reply Stephanie T February 29, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    China: having a Corona virus outbreak
    Also China: one sec let me just check social media and delete these posts

  • Reply Omen Dragon February 29, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    This is sad we may all look different and can't understand what each other are saying but we are all related and this is really saddening. But as this spreads we are headed in the same direction.

  • Reply Sam Yang February 29, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Chinese population is huge. They could have achieved any level of freedom if they really unite and voice out. But having lived under supression for lifetime they probably are used to being subject of fear and submission.

  • Reply Vivek Chouhan February 29, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    🤫🤫🤫🤫 china

  • Reply Bill Hathaway February 29, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    Portable crematoriums in China (google it) The Chinese government is drastically under estimating deaths. No funerals corpses are being incinerated on the spot.

  • Reply Maicho Laa February 29, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    Totalitarianism never lasts, always end in revolt, just a matter of time!!

  • Reply Yehudi Perlman February 29, 2020 at 9:50 pm

    War against China

  • Reply Marley Mendoza February 29, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    Exactly what you'd expect from China, people deserve to show concern and their story on this epidemic in progress

  • Reply 394pjo February 29, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    Thank god there's 1.3 billion of them.

  • Reply Emily L February 29, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    I've been looking for pictures of the victims of the Coronavirus but can't find anything

  • Reply Siyan Li February 29, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    The Chinese Citizens are calling out for help!

  • Reply Priscilla Ramos February 29, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    I know this is going to get lost in the comments but this is seriously getting out of hand and it's only getting worse day by day, I really hope the Chinese Government does something because it's honestly devastating and heartbreaking..

  • Reply Khan Industries February 29, 2020 at 11:52 pm

    Thank you to all the brave Chinese Doctors, citizens and Independent Journalists that have taken the risk to get the truth out. Some of the videos coming out of China were especially powerful. It allows the people in areas not yet affected to be informed and better prepared. I believe you save lives, the truth saves lives.

  • Reply Sister Caritas Le Claire March 1, 2020 at 12:05 am

    These people are beautiful brave martyrs for the Truth!! My prayers are with them and for them!!! May Jesus Christ give you comfort, peace and fortitude in the fight! God Bless You!!!

  • Reply Marcus Morales March 1, 2020 at 12:05 am

    Thank GOD for freedom of speech.
    Prayers go out to China

  • Reply Mr. Bigglesworth March 1, 2020 at 12:15 am

    It's crazy how Chinese people speak better English than people in the states.

  • Reply Mr. Bigglesworth March 1, 2020 at 12:18 am

    I thought the wanna be Japanese kids were Weibo's 😂

  • Reply Zaheer Ali March 1, 2020 at 12:35 am

    What if everyone in china just stopped going to all their jobs. That's what would halt their economy wouldn't it. If they did this all collectively at once, would it not bring their government to its knees?

  • Reply Eric Strickland March 1, 2020 at 1:21 am

    I hope the regular people of China can stay safe and healthy. Chinese govt is wicked and I hope they get a govt that helps the ordinary people. China must have free speech and free thinking and freedom of religion , love. If they want. And to be able to talk to ordinary people here in U.S. and the world , although I from USA. The govt here in U.S. is corrupt and is controlled by rich elites and corporations. I don't like that about USA ..

  • Reply Fakenews Terminator March 1, 2020 at 1:27 am

    This looks so fake to me, a Chinese girl speaking better English then most ethnic Chinese Americans in the states, really? @Emma J you are right, no Wuhan accent also. Western bias and many helping them because either don't know better or otherwise https://youtu.be/dQMWSjTRd9g

  • Reply aleisley March 1, 2020 at 3:11 am

    It's good that the Chinese are somewhat fighting back from the brainwashing and censorship of their government.

  • Reply Vanessa L March 1, 2020 at 3:36 am

    I tried watching their videos and it’s just whinging about the lockdown. I don’t understand what is being silenced or what theyre “revealing” that I don’t already know.

  • Reply pretty y March 1, 2020 at 3:53 am

    越来越觉得香港需要一场社会主义革命后再回归,现在这块土地上的多是些什么东西啊!

  • Reply Nic , March 1, 2020 at 4:16 am

    I’m scared..

  • Reply Rbx.esromkahsu March 1, 2020 at 4:19 am

    OMG

  • Reply Claudin Barb March 1, 2020 at 4:30 am

    Please post as many videos you can. It will make the entire world to help free China

  • Reply austin hazen March 1, 2020 at 5:18 am

    This disease has been spread far more than we can imagine its only a matter of time before most of the world can look like china

  • Reply mpolanetz March 1, 2020 at 5:29 am

    My thoughts and prays are with you 🙁

  • Reply Better Than You March 1, 2020 at 6:03 am

    #freehk is right eh?

  • Reply 王云龙 March 1, 2020 at 7:08 am

    Li Wenliang is just a doctor who has done his job well, and he just gives the news to his relatives and friends. The right way is to let the top of the government get the news as soon as possible, in order to avoid panic and orderly epidemic prevention and control. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. Since the outbreak, the Chinese government has made every effort to save people's lives and property at the expense of economic development. Which other government can do this?

  • Reply Max DC March 1, 2020 at 7:11 am

    Haha…A New York Times – Falun Gong (Evil) Cult production.

  • Reply 王云龙 March 1, 2020 at 7:11 am

    中國的英雄不止李文亮,還有千千萬萬在防控疫情中努力工作的普普通通的人們。

  • Reply 王云龙 March 1, 2020 at 7:15 am

    To this day, I don't think the Chinese government has done anything bad in the prevention and control of pneumonia, and it has completely achieved information transparency. However, blocking some speech that intentionally blackens and creates panic can't be said as controlling freedom of speech.

  • Reply 王云龙 March 1, 2020 at 7:27 am

    The so-called power holders of democratic countries only care about whether they can be re elected in the next term, and use their voices to publicize their commitments. I don't know if you think they have fulfilled their commitments, but I think they must have completed all the work of their own interest groups in their term of office.

  • Reply 王云龙 March 1, 2020 at 7:30 am

    So you think, what you call liberal democracy is really your ideal liberal democracy? Is our "dictatorship" really what you think?

  • Reply Cusbur March 1, 2020 at 7:40 am

    Do you now believe the story about the muslim detainees in China which they allegedly saying aren’t being detained but trained !

  • Reply March 1, 2020 at 7:49 am

    China can control the virus efficiently.Look at the United States. One flu killed so many people.What else is there to complain about?

  • Reply stevefernandez661 March 1, 2020 at 8:05 am

    I don't know why the act so surprised of the censorship they have when that's what communist dictatorship socialism is for control!!!

  • Reply G N March 1, 2020 at 8:21 am

    Freedom of a common man is more important than the development of a country…. Happy to be an Indian ❤️

  • Reply zenubi March 1, 2020 at 9:33 am

    I feel like I could put on a mask and be perfectly well in Canada and deliver the same message for the world and say Im.in China…

  • Reply Claudia Van der Winden March 1, 2020 at 9:52 am

    And the virus is now in Netherlands in Tilburg and in Amsterdam oh god save all the people from the virus

  • Reply Ðj John March 1, 2020 at 10:44 am

    That's true form of Chinese communist regime at it's best

  • Reply cutie pie lam March 1, 2020 at 10:56 am

    guys, even the actual death time of dr.li is also unknown because his death news had caused many chinese to hashtag freedomofspeech on weibo, then the chinese newspapers deleted the news of his death, and reposted it at 3am that night to prevent people getting angry at the government….

  • Reply kiran jayadev March 1, 2020 at 11:17 am

    China is such a dangerous country

  • Reply Bella Hernandez March 1, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Bruh China at least should say sorry for bringing this virus to the whole world

  • Reply Cryptix Daemon March 1, 2020 at 11:30 am

    When most citizens of any country unites and stand together against it's governments, no such government can survive. It's clear that the government of China is not for it's people, but for themselves and such governments will do whatever it takes for them to stay in power. It's time the world open their eyes and unite against such governments and not just look the other way. We are all brothers and sisters, we are all family and we don't take action to stand up for each other then who will? Citizens, unite and rise up and stand together against the evil corruption government forces of this world, starting with China!

  • Reply Sayittomyface Idareyou March 1, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Lets get the first issue out of the way, if y'all care so much about this coronavirus.CHINA STOP EATING EVERYTHING THAT MOVES AND DOESN'T MOVE. HOW ABOUT THAT!

  • Reply kiran ranjitkar March 1, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    It's hard for normal people. Government should have trained many volunteers to control citizens and their fear.

  • Reply We Are Human March 1, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    Can you see me? I just want to make sure my Channel isn't censored. I am in China Beijing at this moment.

  • Reply hells onion March 1, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    there are things that ive seen in the last two months that convinced me this is the big one.

    a working hospital does not leave bodies in bags on the waiting room floor for just a flu. apartment buildings dont have their doors barricaded from the outside to contain the common cold.
    children are not piled 3 at a time into body bags when you have adequate resources.

  • Reply Liz Wagnac March 1, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    They should be sending messages on the blockchain. It’ll be there forever. I pray that things get better since I have to return to China at some point. It’s my second home and I couldn’t imagine staying away forever. 加油武汉!!

  • Reply Zia Zhao March 1, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    To be honest it is true what happened that time in Wuhan.All of us Chinese knew this .But we all know we can do nothing to help them.And now there are many new hospitals for the illness and there are more bed than the patients.The government of wuhan have absolutely mistakes but it have many other reasons,such as the traditional chinese new year .many of the workers have to go back to their home and if they stay in wuhan .That will be a bomb,because they live closely and are easy to get the virus.Now in wuhan there are no scenes like the video shows.and.to be honest many of the video are only the part and screenshot which are quite not the true thing

  • Reply Eduardo Pekush March 1, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    Communism is also a virus

  • Reply mahekk 31 March 1, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    I'll pray every morning and night for the people trapped in China…

    Stay strong, have faith in God.

  • Reply Gareth Evans March 1, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Why dont we beem an internet signal to them black out countrys

  • Reply adela Valladares March 1, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Here is a question to those who are wise. I am kind of confused??? So the government did not want us to know about the virus and hide it from us.. so we won’t be in panic (right)..
    But why? Wouldn’t they want us to be scared? I mean it’s the government? They are corrupted and money hunger. Why would they care about how we feel? I don’t understand? Wouldn’t they want us to be scared and have us in panic? It doesn’t make sense. They love seeing us live in fear. Another thing. Haven’t you guys noticed that no celebrity or even the rich people are scared or talking about it? Not even famous YouTubers? No one besides the news are talking about it? I personally wouldn’t care about this virus if I didn’t have my daughter. If I get then oh well God decides if I live or die. But I have my daughter and I am scared because of her. But I know either she gets it or not… it is God choice. So yeah…

  • Reply Dan Pangemanan March 1, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    I saw a Watch Dogs baseball cap, very nice

  • Reply 郭奇 March 1, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    疫情到二月下旬基本被控制了啊,这视频时效性太差了吧

  • Reply Jamari_playz March 1, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    they probably censored their face because of how split their eyes are.

  • Reply Jann Lee March 1, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    The truth about Coronavirus are lies coming out of China and it is dangerous to the rest of the world.
    If you believe in the numbers that the CCP are putting out that can be dangerous because people will take this virus less serious.

    I am sure a vaccine will be produces soon hopefully and when this is over China need to answer a lot of question!
    WHO director need to step down NOW!

  • Reply Lollie Susie March 1, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    Many Chinese are loyal to their country but I think it is about time for them to fight for their right.

  • Reply 我愛台灣 我爱台湾 March 1, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    China has long tried to hide the truth, what surprised?

  • Reply carebear09 White March 1, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    Share this!

  • Reply Tàłã dâ põtätó March 1, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    Can someone please tell we’re going to be okay please someone make me calm down i can’t sleep 😖😩😭

  • Reply Toto Tita March 1, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    please keep telling the trues we need the real news it may save alots of persons god bless you guys

  • Reply Double u OhEnA March 1, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    Ya'll know its not a new virus,?

  • Reply Bharati Muddada March 1, 2020 at 7:05 pm

    after ever thing is settled you Chinese people should protest for your fundamental right of speech atleast .people should have gov't. not the gov't having people. come on China wake up it is 21st century find away

  • Reply svfutbol20 March 1, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    This is why Americans will never get rid of their guns.

  • Reply pidromonz March 1, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    You are doing what is right in your hearts!
    Stay strong and healthy!
    I would also like to share this with you. It's the truth behind all of this.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3985

  • Reply Fabian Nakamura March 1, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    China silences all Chinese citizens who speak out the truth and facts.
    People are finally starting to awake from this whole brainwashing from the chinese government

  • Reply Michael Lin March 1, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Huh … as we speak, the situation in China is brought under control. I guess folks flocking to this video can put their feet in their mouth now. The thing is, in every natural disaster, there are always the doomsday people, the rumor mills, the looters, the survivors. Take HIV spread by the West – the freedom of speech or democracy NEVER brought it under control, and to this day hundred of Chinese still die from it every year. Same as H1N1. But of course, by nature, you will be in one of the groups above.

    By April, China and its people will stand taller and stronger emerging from this disaster. China haters will still be haters. Enjoy soaking up in your own juice of sadness.

  • Reply Amal Kruger March 1, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Everyone in china.
    I LOVE YOU DEARLY. I AM SO SORRY YOU HAVE TO SUFFER.SORRY YOUR GOVERMENT HAS CAUSED THIS BECAUSE THEY DONT WANT TO JOIN UN!!!!!!

  • Reply Martina Kuhnert March 1, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    My respect.

  • Reply m Lo March 1, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    This is because you imprisoned Muslims
    And now you are imprisoned

  • Reply Bdpjev March 1, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    Free the people. I am sadden by the tragedy that is the chinese governments treatment of the people. This is not humane.

  • Reply Li Wei March 1, 2020 at 8:44 pm

    一帮汉奸,如果你真是中国大陆武汉的 请你滾出武汉 滾出中国 !中国政府从全国各地调来人力物力资源支援武汉 你们这几个贱贼还在骂政府, 你们等着看 现在疾情已经扩散到全世界了看看别的国家由其是美国 是怎么对待他们的人民!没良知的下三烂 , 汉奸 等着遭报应吧!

  • Reply thefucker ryan March 1, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    Stupid western media trying to defame china again

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