Chinese blogger and citizen journalist Zhang Zhan has been sentenced to four years in prison on December 28, according to media reports in Shanghai. Zhang Zhan had reported from Wuhan, where the pandemic is believed to have started, at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in China.
She was arrested in May and accused of “stirring up strife and creating unrest”. She was also accused of spreading false information on social media. In her videos, she spoke to residents and filmed hospital-rooms and deserted streets.
Zhang Zhan disappeared in Wuhan on 15 May. It was later revealed that she was detained by the Shanghai police. She had been reporting from Wuhan in connection with Covid-19 since February 2020 and was therefore charged with “starting quarrels and provoking trouble”. When she started a hunger strike in Pudong New District Prison, Zhang Zhan was allegedly force-fed by officers. She has to wear ankle shackles and her hands have been shackled non-stop for more than three months. There is great concern for her health and her physical and psychological integrity. She is also at risk of further torture and other ill-treatment.