Chinese Court sentences Zhang Zhan: A 37-year-old former attorney, and citizen journalist have been ordered four years in jail by a Chinese court for her reports on the Covid-19 pandemic in Wuhan. The sentence comes weeks before a global World Health Organization team of experts were expected to arrive in China to investigate the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.
Zhang was charged with indenting squabbles and inciting trouble for covering the underlying phases of the pandemic. She is the first known sentence of somebody who revealed the state authorities’ attempts to handle the virus outbreak.
Zhang’s legal counselor Ren Quanniu told Reuters we will appeal in court as Zhang is persecuted for practicing her basic human rights.
Zhang had posted various Covid related stories on her social media accounts, especially the aftermath of the pandemic that tumbled the economy, the confinement of other reporters, and the badgering of families that inquired answers from the government over the flare-up.
The decision has been seen as China’s attempts to detain individuals that uncovered the public authority’s attempts to contain data about the virus outbreak.
Zhang was officially charged for spreading false news about the novel coronavirus last month. She has denied all the charges.
Prior in Dec, the Committee to Protect Journalists, an autonomous press support organization, pummeled China for arresting 47 columnists for reporting about the pandemic that “compromised the official account of Beijing’s response”.
According to Reuters, Zhang was confined in mid-May, she began a hunger strike in late June. The legal counselors told the court that police forcefully fed her via a tube. In Dec, she was found suffering from stomach pain, headache, nausea, low BP, and throat infection as well.
Zhang’s bail plea and live streaming of the trial were rejected by the court, her attorney stated.
China has been criticized for not been able to handle the coronavirus initially when it was an epidemic. The deadly virus has spread globally and has tainted more than 80 million people and killed more than 1.76 million. It has badly impacted trade, and tourism as countries banned air travel and imposed nationwide lockdown in several places.
In Shanghai, during the trial, police tightened security outside the court after seven months of Zhang’s sentence control supporters.