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Citizen journalist Zhang Zhan reported on Wuhan virus sentenced to 4 years prison

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

We call on CCP to immediately and unconditionally release Zhang Zhan!

WTPOHK sends our respect and love always to Zhang Zhan!

This is unacceptable treatment because Zhang Zhan, a lawyer turned citizen journalist, is only reporting the truth for the world to understand what has happened in Wuhan, China with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes COVID-19.

She is being supported worldwide by people who demand to know the truth!

The official Chinese Communist Party (CCP) narrative is that CCP has beaten and has now controlled the virus: there are recent outbreaks in Beijing, China! CCP denies that China is the source of this virus.

Whistleblower Chinese scientist Dr. Yan Meng-li claims SARS-CoV-2 is a CCP lab created virus!

The CCP are liars and not to be trusted on anything!

The world needs a true indepedent inquiry into SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes COVID-19. CCP must be held responsible for its role in this global pandemic - including payment of financial reparations worldwide.

To decouple CCP from China 'cut the head off the snake'!

‘The country’s fear stems from distrust of the people’: jailed Chinese citizen journalist

[Update] Apple Daily 1 January 2021 (format added)

Three days after Chinese citizen journalist Zhang Zhan was jailed, foreign media have revealed further details on her trial, including an outspoken criticism of censorship that she said was the root cause of fear and social insecurity in the country.

Zhang, 37, was on Tuesday sentenced to four years’ imprisonment after she was found guilty by Pudong New Area People’s Court in Shanghai of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a charge frequently used as an excuse to arrest human rights activists and lawyers in mainland China.

“Controlling speech is the real cause of insecurity in society,” Zhang told the court, according to U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia. “The country’s fear stems from distrust of the people.”

Zhang also denied fabricating information, the radio station quoted one of her defense lawyers, Ren Quanniu, as saying.

China resolutely opposes any interference in its internal affairs, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in response to calls from the European Union, Britain, the United States and Germany for Zhang’s release.

Click here for Chinese version

Lawyer-Turned-Citizen Journalist Zhang Zhan Hit Out at Judge During Trial: Lawyer

[Update] RFA 30 December 2020

Jailed citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, who was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for posting reports from Wuhan during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the city, spoke up in court and challenged the judge during her trial earlier this week, RFA has learned. Zhang, 37, appeared in the Pudong New District People's Court in a wheelchair on Tuesday after being force-fed during a hunger strike in the Pudong New District Detention Center. She was found guilty of "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble," a charge frequently used to target critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), on the basis that she had published "false information" about the pandemic on social media sites. Zhang refused to speak when asked by the judge to confirm her personal details, the lawyer said. The judge then instructed the clerk to record that she hadn't replied, whereupon Zhang retorted: "Doesn't your conscience tell you that what you are doing is wrong, in putting me in the dock?" The judge said nothing in reply, and the trial proceeded to the stage where the defendant is informed of their rights and obligations in court. Asked if she had anything to say, Zhang replied: "I'm not going to answer you until you correct your mistake." She continued: "It's not I who is on trial here today, it's you." Zhang later referred to the court process as "your judicial game." When the prosecutor had finished reading the indictment, the judge asked Zhang if the indictment was true. Zhang replied with a historical reference. "Even during the Han Dynasty [202 BC–9 AD], it wasn't a crime to criticize the government," she told the judge.

'Absurd questions' Later, the state prosecutor asked Zhang whether she had indeed posted reports from Wuhan to YouTube and Twitter. Zhang replied: "These absurd questions are the whole reason our country is in decline." Later, when her defense attorney Ren Quanniu asked her the same question, she replied that it is wrong of the government to criminalize public speech. "Because it means every word I speak must be censored," she said. "Does the state have the power to censor the speech of its citizens?" She added that the videos she posted were based on first-hand interviews conducted with the people of Wuhan, and not rumors. "But if the state prosecutor wants to censor the people, they can take anyone to court," she said. Zhang's defense attorney Zhang Keke declined to comment on the trial, saying it was "inconvenient," a phrase often used to indicate pressure from the authorities. "It is not convenient to accept interviews with foreign media," Zhang Keke said.

Impressive and admirable Tsinghua University professor Guo Yuhua said he admired Zhang and other citizen journalists including Chen Qiushi for trying to bring the truth about the pandemic in China to a wider audience. “From Chen Qiushi to Zhang Zhan, I think they are all very impressive and to be admired," Guo told RFA. "I have always paid special attention to them ... and I support what they do," he said. "But at the same time there is a feeling of powerlessness, knowing that there is nothing we can do for them." Zhang's trial and sentencing drew condemnation from Washington. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. strongly condemned the "sham prosecution and conviction." "The rest of the world relied heavily on uncensored reports from citizen journalists like Zhang to understand the true situation in Wuhan," Pompeo said. "Her hasty trial, to which foreign observers were denied access, shows how fearful the [ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP)] is of Chinese citizens who speak the truth." Pompeo called for Zhang's immediate and unconditional release. Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

Chinese Lawyer-Turned-Citizen Journalist Gets Four Years For Wuhan Posts

RFA 28 December 2020

A court in Shanghai has handed down a four-year jail term to a citizen journalist who reported on the coronavirus pandemic as it emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. Zhang Zhan, who appeared in court in a wheelchair after being force-fed during a hunger strike in the Pudong New District Detention Center, was jailed on Monday by the Pudong District People's Court, which found her guilty of "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble," a charge frequently used to target critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Zhang began to weep when she heard the sentence, as did her mother when she spoke to journalists following the trial. "She got four years, which was totally inhumane," Zhang's mother, who gave only the surname Shao, told RFA after the trial. "She was sitting facing the judge and we were sitting behind her, so we couldn't see her face ... but we saw her wiping away tears," Shao said. "She was so, so skinny." "Then the judge said 'Take the criminal away', and they pushed her away in her wheelchair," she said. "I don't know how they can bear to do such a cruel thing." Security was tight outside the court buildings, with police setting up a cordon around the gates and forcing journalists and bystanders to stand back, news photos of the scene showed. "When I came out, there were a lot of police officers around the gates," Shao said. "I don't know what happened ... but they told lawyer [Li Dawei] to leave."

Force-fed by nasal tube

Repeated calls to Zhang's defense attorneys Zhang Keke and Ren Quanniu rang unanswered following the trial. Zhang Keke had previously posted to social media that Ren had been shocked at how thin Zhang Zhan was during his last visit to their client. In the indictment, Zhang Zhan was accused of "posting false information" on overseas social media platforms Twitter and YouTube, and for giving interviews to foreign news organizations. Zhang, 37, began refusing food in detention in June, and RFA reported in September that she was being force-fed via a nasal tube. She has also resisted pressure from police to "confess" to the charges against her. Zhang stand accused of "fabricating" two items in her reporting from Wuhan. The first item was her report that Wuhan citizens were forced to pay a fee to get nucleic acid tests for COVID-19, and the second was that residents confined to their homes under a city-wide lockdown had been sent rotten vegetables by neighborhood committees. Zhang said she admitted to all of the material facts of the case, but refused to plead guilty to the charge, saying that the information she posted wasn't false.

'They seem to want her to die'

Her defense attorneys argued that she had personally visited communities near Wuhan Railway Station, as well as pharmacies and supermarkets in other districts, where she had interviewed Wuhan residents, and acquired the information in her posts first hand. Shao said she had declined media interviews since her daughter's arrest under pressure from police, in the hope of a more lenient sentence. "I think I was duped by them, because they wound up giving her a harsh sentence anyway, which I hadn't expected," Shao said. "They seem to want her to die, because they know about her physical condition," she said. Reports from the scene said police had detained and questioned British and Japanese media representatives, as a crowd of Zhang's supporters gathered outside the court buildings. Sichuan-based rights lawyer Li Dawei said he had traveled from his hometown in the hope of being allowed to sit in the courtroom as an observer, to no avail. "I had hoped to sit in as an observer, but they didn't allow it," he said. "They said that the judge had to agree to observers sitting in beforehand." Shanghai-based rights activist Shen Yanqiu said police had been stationed at all of the nearby subway exits, and were detaining known activists. "There were uniformed and plainclothes police officers at the court gates and at all of the subway exits," Shen told RFA. "He Jiawei, a resident of Zhuzhou city in Hunan province, was detained by the police at Century Square police station, and reporters were also detained." Reported by Qiao Long and Man Hoi Yan for RFA's Mandarin and Cantonese Services. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.


Apple Daily 7 February 2021 'Photos of ‘very skinny’ Chinese citizen journalist Zhang Zhan draw alarm'

RFA 16 December 2020 'China Has More Than 100 Journalists Behind Bars Amid 'Total Control' of Media'

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