A television producer and director in China is reportedly missing after he accused local authorities of covering up the truth about the woman who made global headlines earlier this year after being found chained in a shed.
In late January, a local vlogger discovered a mentally ill woman shackled around the neck and left alone inside a doorless shed.
Wang Shengqiang, who produces and directs China Network’s “Interview with Famous Experts,” claimed on Weibo that the woman’s identity is actually Li Ying. In the viral post, he proclaimed that the local people in Feng County “all know that it is Li Ying, but some people can’t let her be Li Ying.”
In a now-deleted post, he also accused local officials of burying the facts of the woman’s story, saying, “I don’t know how many leaders are behind the operation of this matter, I want to tell you that what you are doing is wrong and violates the rule of law [sic] society. It has become rule of man, and rule of man is very scary. They can kill whoever they want, maybe one day it will be you…”
Wang further wrote in successive Weibo posts on March 27 and 28 that officers had been asking people where he lives, claiming “They asked about my address, and they even went to my sister’s home in my hometown. Are they going to arrest me? Is it a crime to tell the truth?”
“If I stop posting on Weibo, it must be [because] Jiangsu police took me away,” he wrote in another. “This is our so-called rule of law society. What crime will they convict me of? – Telling the truth.”
Before going on social media, Wang last posted to Weibo on March 28: “Lawyers, come and look through my Weibo posts, which one is illegal, and which law is violated, that is worth the police coming to arrest me in the middle of the night?”
Although there were originally many conflicting narratives about who the woman in the video was and whether she had been the victim of human trafficking, it was later confirmed that she was indeed Li Ying, a woman from Sichuan who was abducted by traffickers at 12-years-old.
Wang had raised questions in his older posts: “She was abducted and sold to Feng County, who changed her name? Who did the household registration for her? Who issued the marriage certificate? Can the buyers get all those done without the help of government officials? Many officials are involved in the crime, so it mustn’t be Li Ying!”
In the first few weeks that the story blew up, local authorities in Jiangsu put out five different announcements that contradicted each other. This further fueled theories that the government was behind a cover-up.
Human rights lawyer Lu Tingge tweeted on March 26 that he formally sought more information about the “chained woman” from the Jiangsu provincial government on Feb. 24. Lu said his information disclosure application was formally received on Feb. 25, but he has yet to receive a response.