On April 2, 2021, the family of Mengzhu signed the receipt of arrest notice. Mengzhu has been officially arrested.

On March 24, 2021, a month after Mengzhu was detained, he was finally allowed to see his lawyer. According to Mengzhu’s sister, he was in good spirits, and his case was still under investigation. The lawyer was unable to provide more details regarding the progress, “due to relevant laws”.

On March 23, 202, Mengzhu’s account on Bilibili, a major video sharing platform in China, was permanently suspended, with all the existing videos deleted. This planned wiping-out of his online presence and legacy (on Bilibili & Douyin) has started since he was arrested. Till April, his accounts on major platforms like Weibo, Tiktok, Kuaishou have been shup down.

On March 17, 2021, Mengzhu’s father received the official notice of detention, which confirmed that Mengzhu was under criminal detention at the Detention Centre of Beijing’s Chaoyang District, for reasons of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles”. Two policemen from Beijing brought the detention notice directly to Mengzhu’s home in rural Guizhou, according to the NPR report.

On March 16, 2021, Mengzhu’s fathers was contacted by the local police station and asked to sign the receipt of the detention notice without being shown the actual detention notice. Mengzhu’s father refused to do so.

On March 16, 2021, Mengzhu’s sister sent out a thank you letter on Mengzhu’s WeChat public account, saying that Mengzhu’s family was grateful for the public support they received; they had raised enough money for legal fees and the fundraising was closed. The post was deleted immediately and Mengzhu’s Wechat public account was permanently suspended by the Computer and Internet Supervising Department.

On March 15, 2021, Mengzhu’s father and sister posted an open letter on Mengzhu’s WeChat public account, and launched a fundraising campaign to hire a lawyer for Mengzhu. In the letter, Mengzhu’s father said that they had not yet received a detention notice regarding the reasons of Mengzhu’s arrest. Yet, China’s Criminal Procedure Law (Article 43) stipulates that families should be notified within 24 hours of one’s arrest.

On March 10, 2021, the lawyer of “Ziyang” (pseudonym), who was among those arrested together with Mengzhu, was able to successfully book a meeting with her, but was then told that her case was still under review and the meeting had to be canceled.

On March 2, 2021, Mengzhu’s sister contacted the Shibalidian branch of the Public Security Bureau of Beijing’s Chaoyang District, and was told that Mengzhu was in custody. Mengzhu’s family was told that the relevant official documents had been sent out, but they received nothing in the following two weeks.

On March 1, 2021, under the Weibo posts regarding Mengzhu’s arrest by domestic media outlets (Southern Metropolis Daily, Tencent, among others), the comment sections were shut down and cannot be displayed from around 5pm. Half an hour later, relevant reports and information were deleted across major social media platforms in China.

On the morning of March 1, 2021, the financial media outlet Lanjinger released a report on Weibo, pointing out that Eleme, one of the “big two” food delivery platforms that Mengzhu used to work for, confirmed for Lanjinger that Mengzhu was arrested. This soon sparked a wave of discussion, with many questioning the role of Eleme in Mengzhu’s arrest and how it was possible for Mengzhu’s former employer to confirm this news for the media.

From Feb. 28 to Feb. 29, 2021, social media users in China circulated the information obtained from delivery riders’ Wechat groups regarding Mengzhu’s arrest.

On Feb. 26, 2021, two other food delivery workers who were arrested together with Mengzhu were released back to their residences.

On Feb.25, 2021, in the Wechat group titled “Beijing 13rd Group: Riders Alliance. Solidarity/Mutual Aid/Communication”, a delivery worker said that he saw a large number group of police entering Mengzhu’s residence in Shelihe, Beijing, aka “Riders’ Home”, and taking away Mengzhu and several other people from his residence.

Around Feb.23/24 2021, Mengzhu issued a warning in delivery workers’ Wechat groups that he might be in trouble; and he was arrested if no one heard from him on Wechat in the near future.

On Feb. 21 2021, Mengzhu posted on his Weibo page saying that, after the first video clip got censored, he reedited it and reposted a different version. He called other delivery workers to share this clip, expose the platforms’ misconduct, and protest against the unreasonable rules set by the platforms.

From Feb. 18 till Feb. 19 2021, Mengzhu posted a clip on different platforms, criticizing Eleme’s Spring Festival Reward Program as unreasonable and allegedly fooling the delivery workers to stay on duty. The related topics went viral online. On the afternoon of Feb.19, Eleme openly apologized for its mistake.

On Feb 17, 2021, a food delivery worker questioned and criticized the Spring Festival Reward Program launched by Eleme, one of the “big two” food delivery platforms. The reward program was launched to encourage delivery workers to stay on duty during the Spring Festival, but consisted of tricky, convoluted and unreasonable rules.