Chinese protester He Fangmei, whose daughter grew sick after receiving faulty vaccines, has been missing since her October 9 arrest for splashing ink on a government building in protest, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported this week.
Human rights activists have expressed concerns for her safety after her disappearance.
In March 2018, He’s daughter, Li Qi, “became paralyzed and was diagnosed with a neurological disease after receiving vaccinations for hepatitis A, measles, and other illnesses,” according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD). Testing ultimately determined that defective vaccines were responsible for her daughter’s disability.
Li’s misfortune is not an isolated incident. The issue of fake or otherwise defective vaccines reportedly affecting hundreds of thousands of doses on the Chinese market forced Chinese dictator Xi Jinping to order an investigation in August 2018 resulting in the arrests of many high-profile biotechnology executives, including Chensheng chairwoman Gao Junfang. Chengsheng was one of China’s largest vaccine manufacturers at the time.
Following the arrests, an investigation into Chengsheng’s sale of defective vaccines revealed the company sold roughly half a million faulty doses alone, with similar sales by other companies bringing the total figure in China to over 1 million. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has struggled to address the scandal and public opinion has remained decisively negative. In early 2019, months after the scandal broke, a viral video showed an angry mob assaulting a health official in Jiangsu province.
Since her daughter’s incapacitation, He has vigorously campaigned for restitution from the Chinese authorities, accumulating an extensive arrest record in the process. Though she successfully sued the Hui county Center for Disease Control and Prevention over the issue, she faced continual harassment from local authorities and was unable to get her daughter treatment in Beijing, RFA reported.
He’s pursuit of justice has prompted several public protests and subsequent legal trouble. The October 9 arrest was the result of her spraying ink on a local government building. She previously conducted the same protest on October 2 and was arrested then, but police released her on account of her being pregnant at the time.
Prior to the October protests, He had already developed an extensive history with the Chinese authorities over her activism. She spent much of 2019 fighting criminal charges after being arrested in February of that year for participating in a demonstration outside the National Health Commission in Beijing. He remained in custody until January 10, 2020, when the government dropped the charges, CHRD noted.
He’s current location remains unknown. RFA learned from He’s associate, Tan Hua, a recipient of bad vaccines and her activist confederate, that He remains in “unofficial detention” by the local police and that her incapacitated daughter, too, has been detained.
Thus far, the authorities have stonewalled inquiries from He’s fellow activists and even her husband, Li Xin. Li, for his part, has remained under intense monitoring for the duration of his wife’s many legal battles. In 2019, amid He’s detention, Huixian security forces kidnapped Li and his disabled daughter in Beijing, ultimately removing them from the city, CHRD reported.
Li traveled to Beijing following his wife’s October 9 arrest, seeking to publicize the issue, but authorities reportedly disabled his cell phone and have repeatedly pressured him to return to his home in Henan province.
Amid the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, the communist regime has promised the world free vaccines, as yet undeveloped, to combat the spread.