The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sentenced journalist Zhang Zhan to four years in prison for informing the world about the CCP’s mishandling of the CCP Virus, detailing overcrowded hospitals and conditions in Wuhan earlier this year.

Zhang was convicted of “generating fights and causing trouble,” an accusation typically used by the CCP to hide illegal imprisonment associated with the absence of freedom of expression or ideological and religious persecution.

Zhang, 37, as reported by Fox News represented one of the few public cases for such a cause in China, although reports abound of large numbers of illegal arrests of doctors, nurses, and journalists who tried to tell the world about the atrocities committed by the CCP during the pandemic in China. 

The journalist was among a group of people whose firsthand accounts told of overcrowded hospitals, chaos in the streets due to police repression, and persecution to the death of infected people in the epicenter of the pandemic. Their voices traveled the world as the Chinese Communist Party tried to send a message that the situation was under control. 

Pro-democracy supporters protest to urge for the release of 12 Hong Kong activists and citizen journalist Zhang Zhan arrested outside China’s Liaison Office, in Hong Kong, on Dec. 28, 2020. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

The journalist’s lawyer, Ren Quanniu, reported that “Ms. Zhang is being persecuted for exercising her freedom of expression,” and also stated that they will appeal the measure.

Criticism of the CCP’s mishandling of the crisis have been censored, and whistleblowers who warned of the situation have been silenced by force. The state media has lied to the whole world, assuring that they have had absolute success in handling the pandemic. However, the witnesses who managed to make their voices heard, denounced that the deaths and the chaos was much worse than that declared by the official media.

Zhang’s trial took on international significance and the CCP used it as an exemplary measure against anyone trying to convey information to the world about what is happening inside China. 

Despite the popularity of the case, foreign journalists were denied entry to the court using the pandemic as an excuse, according to court security officials. In addition, requests to the court to release Zhang on bail before the trial and broadcast the trial live were ignored by authorities, her lawyer said.

Zhang, since February, has been uploading short video clips on YouTube featuring interviews with residents, personal comments, images from a crematorium, train stations, hospitals, and the Wuhan Institute of Virology. 

She was arrested in mid-May, and went on a hunger strike in late June, according to court documents reported by Reuters. Her lawyers testified in court that the police tied her hands and force-fed her using a tube. By December her health was deplorable and she was suffering from headaches, dizziness, stomach pain, low blood pressure, and a severe throat infection from the tube.

President Trump has blamed the Chinese Communist Party for its handling of the virus in the early stages. The president has repeatedly said that because of Beijing’s mishandling, the disease was able to spread so quickly around the world.

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