The European Union on Tuesday known as on the Chinese language regime to launch a citizen journalist who was jailed for reporting on the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.
Chinese language citizen journalist Zhang Zhan was sentenced to 4 years in jail on Dec. 28, turning into the primary identified reporter to be sentenced by Beijing for offering first-hand details about the CCP virus pandemic inside China.
??China: Assertion by the Spokesperson on sentencing of journalists, legal professionals and human rights defenders https://t.co/ZpRTYx9Rgt
— European Exterior Motion Service – EEAS ?? (@eu_eeas) December 29, 2020
In a press release, the EU delegation to China cited “credible sources” as saying that Zhang had been subjected to torture and ill-treatment throughout her detention and her well being situation had significantly deteriorated.
“It’s essential that she receives sufficient medical help,” mentioned a spokesperson for the EU delegation.
“The restrictions on freedom of expression, on entry to info, and intimidation and surveillance of journalists, in addition to detentions, trials and sentencing of human rights defenders, legal professionals, and intellectuals in China, are rising and proceed to be a supply of nice concern,” the spokesperson mentioned.
The EU delegation additionally raised issues over the jailing of outstanding human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng. On Dec. 13, the Jiangsu Greater Individuals’s Court docket upheld the primary occasion court docket resolution on Yu’s case, confirming a four-year sentence with out giving to his protection legal professionals the likelihood to current a protection assertion.
The EU known as for the speedy launch of Zhang and Yu, and of “different detained and convicted human rights defenders” in addition to “all those that have engaged in reporting actions within the public curiosity,” mentioned the EU spokesperson.
Zhang, a 37-year-old former lawyer, arrived in Wuhan, epicenter of China’s pandemic, in early February, and started posting studies on her social media accounts. She was usually crucial of the measures taken by Chinese language authorities in stopping the unfold of COVID-19.
She first went lacking in Might earlier than Chinese language authorities confirmed her arrest a month later. Her indictment, which grew to become publicly obtainable in mid-November, confirmed that Zhang was accused of expenses together with “distributing false info by means of textual content, video, and different media.”
The court docket doc additionally accused Zhang of “maliciously speculating” about Wuhan’s pandemic by “talking to abroad media Radio Free Asia and The Epoch Occasions.” Zhang was interviewed a number of occasions by the Chinese language-language Epoch Occasions.
Zhang had been on starvation strike for months earlier than her Dec. 28 court docket look. In a social media submit on Dec. 17, lawyer Ren Quanniu wrote that Zhang was so skinny and out of form that he may hardly acknowledge her.
The whereabouts of three different Chinese language citizen journalists, Chen Qishui, Fang Bin, and Li Zehua, at present stays unknown after they went lacking earlier this yr.
Frank Fang contributed to this report.