A human rights lawyer turned citizen journalist who has been reporting from inside the Chinese city of Wuhan since it was placed under lockdown has reportedly vanished.
Chen Qiushi has not been seen since late last week and friends and relatives now fear he has been forced into quarantine by the government.
Chen went missing last Thursday, just as hundreds of thousands of people began demanding freedom of speech online in the wake of whistleblower Dr Li Wenliang's tragic death from the coronavirus.
"I'm scared, I have the virus in front of me. Behind me is China's law enforcement," he told viewers in an emotional video recorded on January 30.
Chen was one of the last independent voices covering the coronavirus from within Wuhan, starting from the earliest days of the outbreak, news.com.au reported.
He walked into Wuhan's hospitals and newly constructed isolation wards, secretly filming the plight of sleep-deprived doctors struggling to tend to the living as the dead piled up in body bags around them.
In one heartbreaking video, patients in various stages of deterioration can be seen sprawled on waiting room seats while others are hooked up to oxygen tanks in hallways.
At one point Chen — whose name and image have been censored on Chinese social media platforms — films a dead patient sitting in a wheelchair, as a relative stands behind him holding his head up.
"He passed away," she says. "They are going to put him in the morgue. He was gravely ill but the car arrived too late."
Chen describes standing in line with "suspected" coronavirus patients at hospitals, where doctors complain of having only a few hundred testing kits. "Being a 'suspected' case is psychological torture," he says.
"If you are a doctor and tens of thousands of patients ask you for test kits and you only have a few hundred, how do you distribute them?"
Chen says many patients give up and go home after visiting "five or six" hospitals. "Because they had to stand line for a long time to get diagnosed," he says.
"Only when they are diagnosed can they be allowed inside the hospital. All of the hospitals I went to told me there weren't enough beds."
In the video posted online on January 30, Chen revealed he had sent his location "to a few friends in Wuhan".
He goes on to describe a lack of medical supplies such as masks, hazmat suits and other protective gear, and most importantly, a shortage of medical staff and test kits for the virus.
"We need doctors," he said. "The outbreak is still serious. Many problems are not solved.
"The department of justice called me again.
"Qingdao Police Station called me as well. They asked me where I was. They asked me to cooperate with their investigation."
Chen said they asked him where he was living, and talked to his parents.
"I am scared," he tells the camera toward the end of the video. "I have the virus in front of me. Behind me is China's law enforcement."
He promised to continue reporting as long as he was alive.
"I'm not even scared of death, you think I'm scared of you, Chinese Communist Party?"
After Mr Chen's social media channels went silent, his friend, Xu XiaoDong, posted a video claiming Chinese officials took Mr Chen by force and confiscated the mobile phone he used to broadcast his messages.
Xu said authorities told Chen's parents he had been quarantined because he had been exposed to the virus. However, his parents have so far been unable to reach him by phone — a problem not experienced by others in isolation.
A second citizen journalist, Fang Bin, was briefly detained but posted a new video on Friday evening, Bloomberg News reported.