My1sttoday: Chinese journalist who exposed the Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan jailed for 4 years, on Monday.
Zhang Zhan, 37, was found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” according to multiple reports. Her closed-door trial lasted less than three hours.
The charge is regularly used by the Chinese government against human rights activists and other dissidents.
Zhang traveled to Wuhan in February and filmed hospitals, neighborhoods and more as the city locked down during its initial outbreak of COVID-19. Her reporting accused the government of failing to inform citizens about the pandemic’s reality.
During her trial on Monday, her attorney, Zhang Keke, said that she told the court “the government should not censor the speech of its citizens,” The Washington Post reported.
Prosecutors in their indictment of Zhang accused her of “publishing large amounts of fake information” and receiving interviews from international media outlets to “maliciously stir up the Wuhan Covid-19 epidemic situation,” CNN reported.
Her attorney said prosecutors failed to display evidence of the “fake information” that she is accused of lying about in her reports.
Zhang was detained in May. She has been on a hunger strike since June, although she has been force-fed through a tube, in addition to being restrained.
Her attorney said she attended the Monday hearing in a wheelchair, according to CNN.
Several independent journalists have been detained over their coverage of the outbreak in Wuhan. Zhang is the first to be sentenced to prison.