China: Citizen journalist Zhang Zhan jailed for reporting Covid-19 spread in Wuhan to be released

She was in prison for four years

Zhang Zhan | X Zhang Zhan | X

Chinese citizen journalist, Zhang Zhan, who was jailed after reporting on COVID-19 spread in Wuhan in the early days of the pandemic is set to be released after four years. 

Zhan's release is slated for Monday, reported The Guardian. 

In February 2020, Zhan travelled to Wuhan to document the Chinese government's response to the Covid-19 spread leading to a global pandemic. She has shared her reports on social media platforms including X, YouTube and WeChat. 

She was one among the handful of journalists present in Wuhan at the time of the spread and when China went into a lockdown. 

“I can’t find anything to say except that the city is paralysed because everything is undercover. That’s what this country is facing now … They imprison us in the name of pandemic prevention and restrict our freedom...We must not talk to strangers, it’s dangerous. So without the truth, everything is meaningless," Zhang was quoted by The Guardian in one of the videos recorded in February. 

Among the many videos shared, there were also ones showing the hospital that was overflowing with patients. 

Zhang was arrested in May 2020 on charges of "provoking trouble". Later she was sentenced to four years in jail. 

While she was in jail, Zhang went on a hunger strike to protest against her conviction and treatment. Reportedly, her case was treated "particularly harshly". The very fact that she had collected the data and published it on social media irked the government. 

Several journalists and activists came to the forefront demanding her release from jail. "She must be allowed to move freely, to communicate with people inside and outside of China and to be reunited with her family," said Sarah Brooks, Amnesty International’s China director. 

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