FREE citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, who reported Coronavirus from Wuhan报道武汉肺炎疫情无罪,释放公民记者张展

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Former lawyer Zhang Zhan travelled to Wuhan, the epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak, to report on the crisis in early February. She questioned whether the authorities' response to the epidemic infringed on human rights. She spoke up for Dr Li Wenliang and questioned whether the severity of the outbreak had been covered up. She was deeply concerned about those ordinary, voiceless Wuhan citizens who face destitution, having lost livelihoods in Covid-19. When the other three citizen journalists Chen Qiushi, Fang Bin and Li Zehua disappeared one after another, the brave lady courageously carried on, until Shanghai police took her away from her hotel room in Wuhan on 14 May.

In early September, RFA reported that Zhang Zhan had been put on a drip after starting a hunger strike in Pudong Detention Center. It is common practice for China's prisons to subject prisoners on hunger strikes to force-feeding, which is an extremely unpleasant and humiliating ordeal. She was previously arrested in Shanghai in Sept. 2019 for her support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. She suffered from severe mistreatment during her 65 days in detention. Her family and friends are now very worried about her health and detention conditions.

Zhang Zhan has been charged for public disturbance and her case has been sent to Pudong District Court. However, everything she said or did is completely legal according to China's own law. She was only sharing what she saw and heard in Wuhan. The Court should start proceedings without delay, dismiss the malicious prosecution and acquit Zhang Zhan immediately. China, please stop persecuting citizens who exercise their civil rights and speak the truth.