Zhang Zhan, a “citizen journalist” China imprisoned for having recorded how the confinement was applied in Wuhan, the first city in the world in which cases of coronavirus were detected, is about to die, his family warned.
The 38-year-old ex-lawyer went on a hunger strike after being sentenced at the end of 2020 for “provoke disturbances of public order”, a crime that the Chinese courts often resort to against political opponents.
For months, she has been force-fed with nasal tubes. As his brother warned on Twitter last week, is seriously thin and “I may not survive the winter”Zhang Ju said.
“It seems that for her only God and the truths she believes in count,” added the brother.
In February 2020, this Shanghai lawyer came to Wuhan, in central China, to narrate the situation days after strict confinement was applied to this metropolis of 11 million people.
The images of patients welcomed in a crowded corridor of a hospital were one of the few information disseminated in those days of the sanitary conditions in the city.
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On Thursday, Amnesty International called for Zhang’s immediate release to “end his hunger strike and receive the treatment he desperately needs.”
Reporters Without Borders also called on the international community to press for his release. “before it is too late”.
AFP was unable to contact Zhang’s brother and his mother declined to comment on his condition. Also requested by AFP, those responsible for the prison did not want to speak.
One of the journalist’s lawyers, who requested anonymity, said that the family asked three weeks ago to visit her in the Shanghai Women’s Prison, but received no response. Their representatives therefore do not have information on the current state of Zhang.
Asked about this issue on Friday, The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also did not provide details on the detainee’s health status. One of its spokesmen, Wang Wenbin, He guaranteed that “China is a rule of law.”
“Anyone who breaks the law must be punished”, he told reporters, considering the calls for Zhang Zhan’s release to be “anti-Chinese political manipulation.”
In addition to Zhang Zhan, at least three other independent journalists (Chen Qiushi, Fang Bin and Li Zehua) are detained after covering the epidemic crisis in Wuhan.