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HONG KONG — The beige van squatted outside of a Wuhan hospital, its side and back doors ajar. Fang Bin, a local clothing salesman, peered inside as he walked past. He groaned: “So many dead.” He counted five, six, seven, eight body bags. “This is too many.”
香港——一辆浅褐色厢式货车停在武汉一家医院外,车的侧门和后门半开着。方斌是当地的一名服装销售员。他从车边走过,一边看着里面,一边叹气道:“这么多呀。”他数了一下,五个、六个、七个、八个尸袋。“这么多的人就这么死了。”
That moment, in a 40-minute video about the coronavirus outbreak that has devastated China, propelled Mr. Fang to internet fame. Then, less than two weeks later, he disappeared.
在方斌拍摄的一段关于正在中国肆虐的冠状病毒疫情的40分钟视频里,这个细节画面让他在网上出了名。不过,不到两周后,他就消失了。
Days earlier, another prominent video blogger in Wuhan, Chen Qiushi, had also gone missing. Mr. Chen’s friends and family said they believed he had been forcibly quarantined.
几天前,人在武汉的另一位知名视频博主陈秋实也失踪了。陈秋实的朋友和家人说,他们认为他已被强制隔离起来。
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Before their disappearances, Mr. Fang and Mr. Chen had recorded dozens of videos from Wuhan, streaming unfiltered and often heartbreaking images from the center of the outbreak. Long lines outside hospitals. Feeble patients. Agonized relatives.
在失踪之前,方斌陈秋实录制了几十个发自武汉的视频,让人们看到了疫情中心未经过滤、往往是令人心碎的画面。医院外排着的长队。虚弱的病人。焦虑的亲属。
The footage would have been striking anywhere. But it was especially so coming from inside China, where even mild criticism of the authorities is quickly scrubbed from the online record, and those responsible for it often punished.
这些视频画面在任何地方都可能会引人注目。由于它们发自中国国内,所以更是如此。在中国,即使是对当局的温和批评也会被审查员很快从网上记录中删除,而且,发这种言论的人常常会受到惩罚。
The appetite for the videos reflects, in part, the shortage of independent news sources in China, where professional newspapers are tightly controlled by the authorities. Earlier this month, the state propaganda department deployed hundreds of journalists to reshape the narrative of the outbreak.
人们对这些视频感兴趣,在一定程度上反映出中国缺少独立的新闻来源。中国的专业报纸受到政府的严格控制。本月早些时候,国家宣传部门为改变有关疫情的叙事,派出了数百名记者
But the videos also reflected the growing call for free speech in China in recent weeks, as the coronavirus crisis has prompted criticism and introspection from unexpected corners across the country.
但这些视频也反映出,最近几周里中国对言论自由的呼声越来越高,同时,冠状病毒危机也引发了来自国内意想不到角落的批评和反思。
Several professional news organizations have produced incisive reports on the outbreak. A revolt against government censorship broke out on Chinese social media last week after the death of Li Wenliang, the Wuhan doctor who had tried to warn of the virus before officials had acknowledged an outbreak.
几家专业新闻机构已对这次疫情做了深入报道。上周,武汉医生李文亮去世后,中国社交媒体上突然出现了一场反对政府审查的抗议活动。李文亮曾在官员们承认疫情暴发之前,试图警告同行。
1月24日,武汉一家医院等待就医的病人。
1月24日,武汉一家医院等待就医的病人。 Hector Retamal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Mr. Fang’s and Mr. Chen’s videos were another manifestation of the dissatisfaction that the government’s handling of the outbreak has unleashed among ordinary Chinese citizens.
方斌和陈秋实的视频以另一种方式表达了普通公民对政府应对疫情的不满。
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“When suddenly there’s a crisis, they want to have access to a wider array of content and reporting,” said Sarah Cook, who studies Chinese media at Freedom House, a pro-democracy research group based in the United States.
“当危机突发时,人们希望得到更多的内容和报道,”总部设在美国的亲民主研究机构自由之家(Freedom House)的中国媒体研究分析员萨拉·库克(Sarah Cook)说。
The disappearance of the two men also underscores that the ruling Communist Party has no intention of loosening its grip on free speech.
这两人的失踪也凸显了执政的共产党不打算放松对言论自由的控制。
China’s leader, Xi Jinping, said last month that officials needed to “strengthen the guidance of public opinion.” While Chinese social media has overflowed with fear and grief, state propaganda outlets have emphasized Mr. Xi’s steady hand, framed the fight against the outbreak as a form of patriotism and shared upbeat videos of medical workers dancing.
中国领导人习近平上月说,官员们需要“加强舆论引导”。虽然中国的社交媒体上充斥着恐惧和悲伤,但官方宣传机构强调的是习近平的坚定领导,官媒将抗击疫情的斗争定格为一种爱国主义行为,还播放了医务人员跳舞的欢快视频。
More than 350 people across China have been punished for “spreading rumors” about the outbreak, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, an advocacy group.
据倡导组织人权捍卫者(Chinese Human Rights Defenders)统计,中国各地已有逾350人因“散布谣言”而受到惩罚。
Mr. Chen, a fast-talking, fresh-faced lawyer from eastern China, was already well-known online before the outbreak. He traveled to Hong Kong during the pro-democracy protests last year and disputed the Chinese authorities’ depiction of the demonstrators as a riotous mob.
陈秋实是一名来自中国东部的律师,他快嘴快舌、眉清目秀,去年曾在香港的民主抗议活动期间去那里,对中国当局将示威者描绘为暴民的说法提出过异议。
The Beijing authorities summoned him back to the mainland and deleted his social media accounts, Mr. Chen told his followers later.
陈秋实后来告诉他在网上的关注者,北京当局把他召回大陆,并封了他的社交媒体账号。
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But when the coronavirus led officials to seal off Wuhan last month, he raced to the city of 11 million, citing his duty as a self-declared citizen journalist. “What sort of a journalist are you if you don’t dare rush to the front line?” he said.
但当上个月的冠状病毒暴发导致官员对武汉进行封城时,他赶到了这个有1100万人口的城市,他称自己是一名公民记者,有责任这样做。他说,“作为记者如果你不敢第一时间冲到前线来,算什么记者呢?”
In his videos, which drew millions of views on YouTube, Mr. Chen interviewed locals who had lost loved ones, filmed a woman breaking down as she waited for care and visited an exhibition center that had been converted into a quarantine center.
陈秋实在YouTube上发的视频吸引了数百万点击量,他采访了失去亲人的当地人,拍下了一名女子在等待治疗时情绪失控的画面,还去了一个被改造成隔离地点的展览中心。
1月22日,武汉街头的救护车。
1月22日,武汉街头的救护车。 Getty Images
He was blocked from WeChat, a major Chinese social media app, for spreading rumors. But he was adamant that he shared only what he himself had seen or heard.
中国主要的社交媒体平台微信封了他的账号,理由是他散布谣言。但他强调他只说自己看到的和听到的。
As time went on, Mr. Chen, usually energetic, began to show strain. “I am scared,” he said on Jan. 30. “In front of me is the virus. Behind me is China’s legal and administrative power.”
时间长了,通常精力充沛的陈秋实也开始显得有些疲惫。他在1月30日的视频中说,“我是害怕。我前边是病毒。我后边是中国的法律和行政力量。”
The authorities had contacted his parents to ask for his whereabouts, he said. He teared up suddenly. Then, his finger pointing at the camera, he blurted: “I’m not even scared of death. You think I’m scared of you, Communist Party?”
他说,当局找了他的父母,向他们询问他的住址。然后,他突然哭了,并指着相机脱口说出这句话:“我连死都不怕。我还怕你共产党吗?”
On Feb. 6, Mr. Chen’s friends lost contact with him. Xu Xiaodong, a prominent mixed martial arts practitioner and a friend of Mr. Chen, posted a video on Feb. 7 saying that Mr. Chen’s parents had been told that their son had been quarantined, though he had not shown symptoms of illness.
2月6日,陈秋实的朋友与他失去了联系。2月7日,陈秋实的朋友、著名的综合格斗拳手徐晓冬在网上发的一段视频中说,当局告诉陈秋实的父母,他们的儿子已被隔离,尽管他并没有任何生病的症状。
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Unlike Mr. Chen, Mr. Fang, the clothing salesman, was fairly anonymous before the coronavirus outbreak. Much of his YouTube activity had involved producing enthusiastic videos about traditional Chinese clothing.
与陈秋实不同,服装销售员方斌在冠状病毒暴发之前是个默默无闻的人。他在YouTube上发的大部分视频都是关于他对中国传统服装的热情。
But as the outbreak escalated, he began sharing videos of Wuhan’s empty streets and crowded hospitals. They lacked the slickness of Mr. Chen’s dispatches, which were often subtitled and tightly edited. But, as with Mr. Chen’s videos, they showed a man growing increasingly desperate — and defiant.
但随着疫情加重,他开始分享武汉空荡荡的街头和拥挤的医院的视频。方斌的视频不如陈秋实的娴熟流畅。陈秋实的报道通常配有字幕,并经过了紧凑的编辑。但与陈秋实的视频一样,方斌的也显示出一名男子日益增长的绝望和越来越大的胆量。
On Feb. 2, Mr. Fang described how officials had confiscated his laptop and interrogated him about his footage of the body bags. On Feb. 4, he filmed a group of people outside his home, who said they were there to ask him questions. He turned them away, daring them to break down his door.
方斌在2月2日的视频中描述了官员怎样没收了他的笔记本电脑,还盘问了他拍摄尸袋录像的情况。2月4日,他拍摄了他家门外来的一群人,这些人说他们来是要问他些问题。他没让他们进来,还激他们敢不敢破门而入。
In his final videos, Mr. Fang turned explicitly political in a way rarely heard inside China, at least in public. Filming from inside his home — he said he was surrounded by plainclothes policemen — he railed against “greed for power” and “tyranny.”
方斌在消失前发的最后一段视频中,用在中国国内(至少在公开场合)很少见的方式直接说了政治。他在这段在自己家里拍的视频中说,他已被便衣警察包围起来,他谴责中共“对权力的贪婪”和“暴政”。
His last video, on Feb. 9, was just 12 seconds long. It featured a scroll of paper with the words, “All citizens resist, hand power back to the people.”
他2月9日发布的最后一段视频只有12秒长。视频展示了一个条幅,上面写着:“全民反抗,还政于民。”
Despite the worldwide audience for Mr. Fang’s and Mr. Chen’s videos, it is hard to know how much reach they had domestically, said Fang Kecheng, an assistant professor of journalism at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Both men relied heavily on YouTube and Twitter, which are blocked in China.
香港中文大学新闻学助理教授方可成说,尽管全世界都有人看到了方斌和陈秋实的视频,但很难了解这些视频在中国国内有多大影响。他两人主要都靠YouTube和Twitter发视频,这两个网站早已被中国屏蔽了。
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But unlike the torrent of grief and anger online in response to the death of Dr. Li, news of Mr. Chen’s and Mr. Fang’s disappearances has been swiftly stamped out on Chinese social media. Their names returned almost no results on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, on Friday.
与网上表现出的对李文亮之死的悲愤情绪不同,陈秋实和方斌失踪的消息在中国社交媒体上很快就被压下来。上周五,在中国类似Twitter的平台微博上检索他们的名字,几乎不会得到任何结果。
Still, Ms. Cook said the power of Mr. Chen’s and Mr. Fang’s videos, as well as the reporting done by professional journalists in Wuhan, should not be underestimated.
尽管如此,库克说,陈秋实和方斌的视频,以及专业记者从武汉发来的报道的影响力不应被低估。
She pointed to the Chinese authorities’ decision this week to loosen diagnostic requirements for coronavirus cases, leading to a significant jump in reported infections, as evidence of their impact.
她以中国有关部门上周决定放松冠状病毒病例的确诊条件、导致报告的确诊病例大幅增加为例指出,作为其影响的证据。
That decision might not have come “if you didn’t have all these people in Wuhan sending out reports that what you’re hearing is an underestimate,” Ms. Cook said. “These very courageous individuals can, in unusual circumstances, push back and force the state’s hand.”
“如果没有在武汉的这些人把报道发出来的话,他们让人们认识到确诊数字被低估了”,政府可能不会做出这个决定,库克说道。“这些非常勇敢的人能在特殊情况下做出反击,迫使政府采取行动。”
Mr. Fang, in one of his last videos, seemed struck by a similar sentiment. He thanked his viewers, who he said had been calling him nonstop to send support.
方斌在他最后的一段视频中似乎也有这种感觉。他对自己的观众表示了感谢,说他们一直不停地给自己打电话表示支持。
“A person, just an ordinary person, a silly person,” he said of himself, “who lifted the lid for a second.”
“我只是一个揭开了盖子的人,一个普通人,一个蠢人,”方斌这样描述自己。