Chinese journalist jailed for Wuhan coronavirus reports

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A Chinese journalist, who reported the COVID-19 outbreak live from Wuhan, was imprisoned for four years, her lawyer said on December 28, 2020.

This comes almost a year after an “unknown viral pneumonia” was reported in the central China city.

A Shanghai court held a former lawyer Zhang Zhan guilty for allegedly provoking trouble by reporting in chaotic initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak. The court punished her with a four-year jail term.

The reports and articles prepared by her gained huge attention on the internet and were shared widely on different social media platforms in February. She caught the attention of the authorities who have punished eight whistleblowers for the same.

After silencing the COVID-19 whistleblowers, Beijing has patted its back to congratulate itself for controlling the virus on its territory and improving the economy while others are undergoing virus-induced lockdowns and their impacts on the economy.

The illegitimate restriction on the free-flow of information has helped the Chinese Communist Party to manipulate and re-frame the narrative in their favor.

“Zhang Zhan looked devastated when the sentence was announced,” Ren Quanniu, one of Zhang’s defense lawyers, told reporters confirming the four-year jail term outside Shanghai Pudong New District People’s Court.

“She said when I visited her (last week): ‘If they give me a heavy sentence then I will refuse food until the very end.’… She thinks she will die in prison,” Ren said before the trial.

“It’s an extreme method of protesting against this society and this environment,” she added.

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