Zhang Zhan, a Chinese journalist has come under the Chinese government’s scanner for reporting on Wuhan’s COVID-19 situation. She will be facing trial in Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court on December 28, her lawyers revealed.
Zhan Zhang Goes On a Hunger Strike
On Wednesday, Zhang’s lawyers received a court document which accused Zhang of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” The document referred to Zhang’s 10-month-old reportage in Wuhan. The police arrested her on 10 May and detained her in Pudong where she went on a hunger strike. A nasal tube was reportedly being used to feed Zhang. Although her family and friends have begged her to quit her hunger strike, she has refused to do so.
Besides regular reporting, she had been allegedly livestreaming her reportage and uploading it on social media. Zhang had also been criticizing Xi Jinping’s government for mishandling the COVID-19 situation.
Zhang Zhan‘s lawyer Zhang Keke revealed on social media that her health was deteriorating. She has been suffering from ‘headaches, dizziness and stomach pain.’ “Restrained 24 hours a day, she needs assistance going to the bathroom.” He also revealed that the journalist is psychologically exhausted.
Zhang Has Faced Trouble On Other Occasions
The 37-year-old journalist has been in trouble on previous occasions too. She had faced detention in 2018 and 2019 for openly supporting the Hong Kong activists. The court has also accused of ‘falsifying’ information. However, Zhang has denied these claims.
Authorities Detained Other Journalists Too
Authorities have arrested several other journalists under similiar charges. Chen Qiushi, a former lawyer turned journalist faced detention in January this year. Li Zehua disappeared in February, but was released in April. Fang Bin, a Wuhan resident has been missing ever since filming the police coming to his home plus Wuhan’s hospitals’ conditions. No one has heard from him since then.
The Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) has reported that government authorities placed several lawyers under house arrest. These lawyers include Xie Yanti, Tang Jitian (now under detention), Li Heping and Wu Wenshang. The human rights body has accused authorities for taking wrongful action against people.
Anoushka Das is an intern at SheThePeople.TV.