Washington : Fang Bin, who documented the initial Covid outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has been finally released from jail after being there for more than three years, CNN reported citing a family member.
After sharing the videos of the on-ground situation in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the original outbreak, Bin suddenly disappeared, as the authorities were trying to suppress the true extent of the unfolding global emergency. On Sunday, he was released from jail and was in Wuhan, according to the family member and added that his health had suffered a lot while spending years in jail.
His videos posted to social media in early 2020 laid bare the realities of the virus' deadly spread, contradicting the official narrative presented on China's tightly controlled state media, reported CNN.
Authorities locked down the city of Wuhan on January 23 of that year, but there had been a period of roughly three weeks between when health officials announced a mysterious illness and confirmed it was spreading between people.
In one of the videos, Bin was showing hospital corridors crowded with patients and their desperate relatives. During one segment, he counts body bags piled in a van - images that garnered significant attention in China, where the public was desperate to understand what was happening in the epicentre city.
In his final videos, Fang recorded people coming to his door to ask questions and said his home was surrounded by plainclothes policemen, CNN reported.
In his last video, Fang can be heard saying, "Let's revolt - bring the power back to the people." Then, he disappeared.
The relative of Fang told CNN he had been charged with "picking quarrels and provoking trouble" and was sentenced to three years. The charge is commonly used to silence activists and government critics.
CNN was not able to independently confirm the details of Fang's case, including whether he was formally charged or the circumstances of his release.
The Wuhan public security bureau did not answer repeated phone calls from CNN. The Ministry of Justice in Beijing did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.