Beijing – A Chinese court on Monday sentenced a former lawyer, who was imprisoned for four years in the early stage of coronovirus, to “raise fights and cause trouble”. Pudong New Area People’s Court in Shanghai’s financial center sentenced Zhang Zhan to interview foreign media after allegations of spreading false information, disrupting public order and “maliciously outbreak”.
Lawyer Zhang Keke confirmed the conviction but said it was “inconvenient” to provide details – usually an indication that the court has issued a partial gag order. He said the court did not ask Zhang whether she would appeal, nor did she indicated that she would.
The 37-year-old Zhang traveled to Wuhan in February and posted on various social media platforms about the outbreak that emerged in the central Chinese city late last year.
He was arrested in May amid stringent nationwide measures aimed at curbing outbreaks and heavy censorship to stem criticism of the government’s initial response. Jang allegedly went on a prolonged hunger strike while in custody, prompting authorities to forcibly feed him, and is said to be in poor health.
Earlier this month, a lawyer wished Zhang to remain anonymous, CBS News Zhang was told to rest for 24 hours with a belt around her waist and both hands pulled her from a feeding tube. Was tied to stop.
The lawyer, who visited her at least twice, stated that she was having headaches, dizziness and stomach ache and mouth ache by forcibly feeding a gastric tube and Zhang told her, “torture every day it occurs.”
Zhang is among several civilian journalists whose work offered only a few glimpses to the outside world of what was going on in Wuhan during the early days of the coronovirus epidemic – and who were later taken captive by the Chinese government.
Citizen journalist Chen Queshi went missing in February around the same time that Li Xhua and Wuhan resident Feng Bin both reported a coronovirus outbreak in Wuhan. Li Zhua was released in April.
China has been accused of covering the initial outbreak and delaying the release of critical information, enabling the virus to spread and contributing to the pandemic that has sickened more than 80 million people worldwide and about 1.8 million have been killed. Beijing strictly denied the allegations, saying it took swift action that bought time to prepare the rest of the world.
China’s ruling Communist Party tightly controls the media and wants to stop the dissemination of information that it has not approved to release.
Early in the outbreak, authorities reprimanded several Wuhan doctors for “spreading rumors” after alerting friends on social media. The best known of the doctors, Li Wenliang, later succumbed to COVID-19.
Separately, the agency France Presse reported that China has prosecuted 10 of the 12 pro-democracy activists who tried to flee Hong Kong by speedboats to sanctuary in Taiwan.
The US urged immediate release of dissidents, saying “fleeing atrocities.”
Ten of the so-called “Hong Kong 12” were in court in the southern city of Shenzhen. On August 23, his boat was intercepted.