A Chinese citizen-journalist was slammed with a four-year jail sentence on Monday for her reportage from Wuhan regarding the emergence of the novel coronavirus, PTI reported her lawyer as saying.
Zhang Zan, herself a former lawyer, was sentenced by a court in Shanghai for allegedly ‘picking and quarrels and provoking trouble’ during her time in Wuhan in the primary stages of the viral outbreak.
China has so far punished eight whistleblowers in an apparent attempt to rid the government of any criticism or checking measures in its coronavirus response system, with Beijing, contrarily, congratulating itself for an ‘extraordinary’ performance in controlling the outbreak and largely pushing its economy back into activity, even as the rest of the world staggers through lockdowns and largely stunted financial growth a year after the first case surfaced in Wuhan.
"We had no way of understanding what exactly Zhang Zhan was accused of doing," AFP quoted Zhang Keke, one of the former’s lawyers, as saying. He further noted that the court had alleged Zhan of spreading ‘false remarks’ online, but also added that the prosecution refused to divulge its entire evidence in court.
Keke reportedly described the hearing as a “speedy, rushed one”.
The controlling of the information flow has been imperative for the country where censorship is king, as it has significantly allowed the CCP and Chinese President Xi Jinping to reframe the entire coronavirus-afflicted narrative into their favour, resulting in heavy crackdowns on anyone aiming to find holes in the said narrative.
Reporters were barred from entering the court during the hearing, as concerns in China are currently on the rise around the wellbeing of Zhang (37), who has been fed through a nasal tube since June, when she started a hunger strike.