China Jails Citizen Journalist for Her Accounts of Covid-19 in Wuhan
Zhang Zhan, a 37-year-old journalist, faces four years in prison due to her accounts of the Covid-19 pandemic in Wuhan. A Chinese court found Zhan to be guilty of picking quarrels and provoking trouble after sustaining a 2.5 hour trial at the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court. Prosecutors accused her of spreading false information through social media posts and contact with overseas media. Zhan was detained seven months ago in Wuhan, the pandemic’s original epicenter.
Zhan posted more than 120 YouTube videos describing the conditions in the city and criticizing the government’s initial pandemic response. Her accounts contradict China’s attempt to showcase the Communist Party’s good governance, which consists of extensive propaganda and censorship efforts to quell public anger and suppress criticism against China’s Covid-19 response efforts. Zhan’s indictment is the first known prosecution of a journalist covering the pandemic in Wuhan.