Two Chinese internet activists and one of their girlfriends have been detained by police for weeks in Beijing for archiving articles on the coronavirus outbreak that were censored by the Communist regime, according to multiple reports.
Chen Mei and Cai Wei both contributed to the project, which was crowd-sourced on the software development platform GitHub, before going missing on April 19, according to Reuters, citing Chen’s brother Chen Kun.
The project, named Terminus2049, saved articles that had been censored from mainland news outlets and social media by the Chinese Communist Party.
Cai’s girlfriend, listed only with the surname Tang, was also arrested with the two on similar charges.
Cai and Tang were held on charges of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” an accusation frequently used against political activists in China, the outlet reports.
It was not immediately clear if Tang was directly involved in the archive project.
Chen Mei’s family, meanwhile, has still not been given official confirmation from police that the 26-year-old has been detained.
China’s censorship machine has been taking down any information the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing deems to be a “rumor.”
As far back as January, authorities ordered that an article looking at how China’s economy would be affected by the World Health Organization declaring the virus a “global health emergency” be scrubbed from the internet, according to China Digital Times, a US-based Chinese monitoring group.
Other types of censorship include posts by families of sick individuals looking for help, people in quarantined cities documenting their day-to-day lives and those who criticize the government’s handling of the crisis, according to Vice.