ARTICLES criticising China's handling of the coronavirus outbreak posted online in morse code and Klingon have been deleted by censors.
China has been criticised after local authorities in Wuhan, where the first Covid-19 outbreak began, punished whistle-blower medics who attempted to publicise the new coronavirus late last year.
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For a short time after the outbreak started, there was a window of relative openness for China's online media to report aggressively on the virus.
But that ended in February as censors stepped in to shut WeChat groups, delete social media posts and tighten controls on the domestic media.
Many people who are active online, however, still found ways to share information.
On Monday, Chinese police detained two people who contributed to an online archive of censored articles about the coronavirus outbreak, a friend and a family member of one told Reuters.
'CENSORING THE TRUTH'
The two – Chen Mei and Cai Wei – have been out of contact since April 19, when cops detained them in Beijing, Chen Kun, Chen Mei's brother said.
Chen Mei, 27, and Cai, who are old friends, were volunteers with a project called Terminus2049, an open-source archive that keeps records of censored articles from Chinese media on Github, a coding platform.
In recent months, the project has been active in making records of articles on the coronavirus outbreak.
The articles gathered on Terminus2049 touch on topics that can be seen as sensitive, including when human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus was discovered.
The archive was among those that kept in circulation a profile report on a Wuhan doctor and whistleblower, Ai Fen, which went viral.
People translated the report in various forms including into Braille, Morse code and even Klingon – the fictional Star Trek language – in a defiance of the censors.
Ai was reprimanded in January for sharing information about the outbreak.
Chen worked at a non-profit organisation in Beijing and Cai worked at a tech company, said Lucy Qiu, a friend of the detained Chen.
BEIJING 'COVER UP'
Cai was held on charges of "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble", on a notice from Chaoyang district police in Beijing, Chen Kun said, an accusation often used against political activists in China.
Chen Kun said he did not know what charges, if any, his brother was held on.
A third person, Cai's girlfriend, surnamed Tang, was held on similar charges, Chen Kun said, although it was not immediately clear if she was directly involved in the archive project.
Chen's family has not received any formal notice from the police. An officer said only that he was "cooperating with an investigation", his brother said.
Meanwhile, a spy dossier has claimed China lied to the world about coronavirus by covering up the outbreak.
A 15-page document, obtained by The Saturday Telegraph, has laid the foundation for a case being created against China for its handling of the deadly disease.
It has also been revealed that a laboratory in Wuhan, not far from the now infamous wet market, had been studying deadly bat-derived coronaviruses.
The dossier, from the Five Eyes intelligence agencies of the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, stated that China's secrecy surrounding the virus led to an "assault on international transparency".
It said: "Despite evidence of human-human transmission from early December, PRC authorities deny it until January 20.
"The World Health Organisation does the same. Yet officials in Taiwan raised concerns as early as December 31, as did experts in Hong Kong on January 4."
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