On Monday, a Chinese court sentenced a lawyer-turned-citizen-journalist who traveled to Wuhan to report on COVID-19. Authorities first detained her in May after her livestream reporting in Wuhan. The government charged her with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” for her reporting.
A Chinese court sentenced the journalist, 37-year-old Zhang Zhan, to four years in jail, her lawyer Zhang Keke told reporters outside the courtroom.
Zhang reportedly began a hunger strike in June, but she has been force-fed via a nasal tube.
“She said when I visited her (last week): ‘If they give me a heavy sentence then I will refuse food until the very end.’… She thinks she will die in prison,” Ren Quanniu, one of Zhang’s defense lawyers, told Agence France Press (AFP). “It’s an extreme method of protesting against this society and this environment.”
China jails citizen journalist Zhang Zhan for 4 years for reporting on the virus in Wuhan. She has been on a hunger strike since June and is reportedly force-fed via a nasal tube.
China has punished 8 virus whistleblowers so far.
📸Her lawyer Zhang Keke talks to the press pic.twitter.com/3SKLCMXeP9
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) December 28, 2020
China has punished eight virus whistleblowers so far.
The Chinese Communist Party lied to cover up the coronavirus pandemic early on, and waited until after 5 million people had already left Wuhan before locking down the city at the center of the outbreak. The party also reportedly destroyed early samples of the virus and silenced doctors who tried to warn the world about it. A University of Southampton study found that if the Communist Party had enacted quarantine measures three weeks earlier, the coronavirus spread would have been reduced by 95 percent.
When the World Health Organization (WHO) tweeted that the coronavirus might transmit from person to person, the Chinese government told the WHO to remove that statement, and the WHO complied. China requested personal protective equipment (PPE) from across the world, and received 2.4 billion pieces. Later, when other countries asked China for PPE, China extorted them — only sending valuable medical aid if political leaders agreed to publicly praise Beijing. Chinese companies also sent faulty medical gear to European countries and to the U.S. Meanwhile, the Communist Party prevented U.S. companies from shipping their own medical gear back home, where it is sorely needed.
The State of Missouri has already filed a lawsuit to hold China accountable, and there is a growing chorus of voices demanding the U.S. sue the Chinese Communist Party in an international court. China has even threatened U.S. senators by name who dared to call Beijing to account for its malfeasance. Americans want to see China held accountable.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.