Covid-19 journalist tortured and imprisoned for exposing truth.
Citizen journalist Zhang Zhan’s life is at risk, as her health continues to deteriorate at a dramatic rate. Admitted to hospital due to severe malnutrition on 31 July, she now weighs less than 40 kg and is suffering from swelling in her legs and feet. Allowed to speak to her daughter for the first time since February, Zhang Zhan’s mother urged her to reconsider the partial hunger strike. However, Zhang Zhan remains determined to continue the action as a way to assert her innocence and protest her sentence, despite the grave risk to her health.
Citizen journalist Zhang Zhan was sentenced to four years in prison on 28 December 2020.
The charge against her of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” stemmed from her COVID-19 reports from Wuhan that began in February 2020.
In February 2020, Zhang Zhan travelled to Wuhan, which was then the centre of the COVID-19 outbreak in China. She used online platforms (including WeChat, Twitter and YouTube) to report on the detention of other independent reporters as well as the harassment of victims’ families.
Zhang Zhan went missing on 15 May in Wuhan and was subsequently revealed to have been detained by police in Shanghai, more than 640km away.
Without access to family and lawyers of her choice, Zhang Zhan remains at risk of further torture and other ill-treatment by the authorities, especially if she continues her hunger strike.
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