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Zhang Zhan, the Chinese “citizen journalist” who documented Covid in the Wuhan days, has disappeared into thin air

Zhang Zhan, the Chinese “citizen journalist” who documented Covid in the Wuhan days, has disappeared into thin air

toGuido Santavici

A lawyer, she began in 2020 documenting the drama of the epidemic in China. She was sentenced to 4 years in prison, and was supposed to be released: there is no news about her

From our correspondent in Beijing
Covid is not over yet Zhang Zhan, a “citizen journalist” who wrote about Wuhan’s tragic days in a blog Early 2020. He was arrested in May 2020. She was sentenced to four years in prison, and served her sentence. He was scheduled to be released on May 13. But after one day There is no news about his whereabouts or health condition. Silence from the family; Her lawyer was unable to contact her, believing that her “personal freedom would remain restricted.” In China, even after their release from prison, those convicted of opposition and opinion crimes remain in the shadows. He is under surveillance in remote places so that he cannot communicate. “We are very concerned,” say Reporters Without Borders, an NGO that fights for press freedom and awarded Zhang a press freedom prize in 2021.

Zhang Zhan, now 40, left her job as a lawyer in Shanghai in February 2020 to become a citizen journalist and went to Wuhan. With his camera, he began photographing patients huddled together in hospital wardsShe denounced the delay in the political response, and interviewed desperate merchants in a city paralyzed by quarantine. Similar scenes filmed in our cities will soon be seen on the news from Europe to the United States. But the Chinese party-state does not allow criticism. Zhang was initially threatened, but continued to document, posting about a hundred video reports from the COVID-19 front line online. Those uploaded to the Chinese social media network WeChat were removed by censors, but those on YouTube remain as a testament to his work. On May 14, 2020, she disappeared and it was learned that she had been arrested.

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Fu Condemning “publishing news that would destabilize social stability”. She arrived at court in December 2020 in a wheelchair, weakened by a hunger strike carried out as the only possible form of protest against injustice.

The judges did not accuse her of distorting the facts, but rather presented them without filter to the Chinese on social networks and also (perhaps primarily) to the rest of the world on YouTube. The ruling was issued after a closed session that lasted only three hours.

The last post, published at the beginning of May 2020, said: “The government runs China’s cities with intimidation and threats. This is the real tragedy of our country.” Four years later, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has disappeared, but the virus of media freedom suppression is rooted in China.

May 14, 2024 (Modified May 14, 2024 | 3:48 pm)

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