The bin in Guizhou province, south-western China, where the bodies of the five boys were discovered. Photograph: HAP/Quirky China News/Rex Features

The man who revealed the deaths of five homeless children in a bin this week, sparking soul-searching across China, has been taken away by officials, his supporters have said.

The boys, who were found dead in the south-western province of Guizhou, were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, apparently after lighting charcoal in an attempt to stay warm overnight.

News of the deaths spread when Li Yuanlong, a former journalist in Bijie city, posted details on an online bulletin board. But, according to sources, soon after the revelations the authorities forced Li to take a “vacation”, a method often used to deal with activists and dissidents.

The Bijie propaganda…

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