Chen Zhiming, chief editor of Hong Kong magazine Exclusive Character, has reportedly been missing in mainland China for over four months.

Ming Pao visited Chen’s company’s registered address in Hong Kong, and was told by a man at the address – who called his mother – that they could not get in touch with Chen either.

An edition of Exclusive Character published in February 2022 with poet Yang Lian on the cover
An edition of Exclusive Character published in February 2022 with poet Yang Lian on the cover. Photo: Yang Lian, via Twitter.

The police also told the newspaper that they had not received any missing persons report linked to Chen.

According to Germany-based poet Yang Lian, Chen has been arrested in China. The poet later told US-backed RFA that Chen’s Weibo – a Chinese social media platform – had stopped updating last September 21.

Yang also said that he believed that Chen was in the firing line over the magazine’s reports of the Covid-19 pandemic situation in mainland China, as well as the publishing of what was seen as articles by “foreign forces.”

The poet also posted a photo of an edition of Exclusive Character with himself on the cover, with the title “poetry is the enemy of chains.”

Chen Zhiming
Chen Zhiming. Photo: Internet.

Yang also told RFA that he believed Chen was in trouble for raising concerns over “the chained woman.”

The edition of Exclusive Character with Yang on the cover referred to an infamous case of a rural woman chained up in a shack. Last February, Chinese officials vowed to launch an investigation after a video showing a woman in chains and thin clothes in freezing weather sparked a public outcry.

chain neck woman china
Photo: Weibo.

At the time, local authorities said that the woman’s 55-year-old husband was suspected of illegally detaining her, and that the couple had eight children together.

The footage triggered outrage online and intense debate about mental health and human trafficking in China.

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Hong Kong Free Press is a new, non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.