Zhang Zhan reported on the corona outbreak in Wuhan and the failures of the Chinese authorities in the spring. A court in Shanghai has now ruled that the 37-year-old “provoked trouble”.
China has sentenced a journalist to four years in prison for reporting critical of the coronavirus outbreak and the reaction of the authorities in the metropolis of Wuhan. The Shanghai court justified the sentence for 37-year-old Zhang Zhan on Monday by saying that she had “started quarrels and provoked anger”.
At the height of the pandemic in China, the journalist reported in videos on YouTube about the situation in Wuhan, where the virus first broke out. In May, Zhang was arrested along with a number of other citizen journalists who had shared the Wuhan’s experiences on social media. Zhang’s health is “extremely poor” according to her lawyers. She went on a hunger strike in June and was force-fed.
China: Fight against Corona as a success story
In Wuhan, the corona virus was first detected in humans at the end of last year. Within a few weeks it spread massively across the city. On January 23, Wuhan was cordoned off by the authorities, and in the days that followed, the entire Hubei province in which Wuhan is located. From there, the virus spread all over the world, but in China itself it was largely pushed back by the rigorous isolation and quarantine measures. The country’s leadership has been hailing its fight against the virus as a great success story for months.
According to the organization Reporters Without Borders, China is one of the countries with the highest number of journalists and bloggers imprisoned. In the ranking of global press freedom, the country is at the bottom of the list. Time and again there were cases in which foreign journalists were expelled for critical reporting or had to fear that their visas would be extended.