CHINA Blogger Zhang Zhan faces 5 years jail time for Wuhan reports

TOPSHOT- A memorial for Dr Li Wenliang who was the whistleblower of the Coronavirus Covid-19 that originated in Wuhan China and caused the doctors death in that city

TOPSHOT- A memorial for Dr Li Wenliang who was the whistleblower of the Coronavirus Covid-19 that originated in Wuhan China and caused the doctors death in that city

The first patient with COVID-19 reportedly contracted the virus after he consumed a bat purchased at an exotic meat market in China's Wuhan.

The Pudong district prosecutor last week asked for five years in prison for blogger Zhang Zhan, according to the indictment sheet obtained yesterday by Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD). Authorities accused Zhang of "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble", a crime regularly used to jail political dissidents in China.

At least three disappeared in February.

Zhang is now being held in a detention facility in Shanghai where authorities reportedly force-fed her in late September in response to a hunger strike, according to RFA.

It later emerged the second, Chen Qiushi, had been placed under government supervision, while the whereabouts of the third journalist, Fang Bin, is still unknown. One, Li Zehua, reappeared in April saying he had been "quarantining".

According to Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), an NGO working towards human rights in China, Zhang "reported numerous stories including the detentions of other independent reporters and harassment of families of victims seeking accountability from the epicentre via her WeChat, Twitter and YouTube accounts".

On 19 June, she was formally arrested in Shanghai.

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According to CHRD, Zhang Zhan had started a hunger strike on September 2 and detention centre authorities had begun to forcibly feed her.

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The indictment sheet which was released on Monday alleges that, Zhan had shared "false" information through various text, video clips and online media sharing platforms such as WeChat, Twitter and YouTube. "She is now being accused of fabricating malicious and false information about the coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan and accepting interviews with overseas media", a source revealed.

A sentence of four to five years was recommended. Even though Zhang's family wanted her to stop the hunger strike, Zhang said she wouldn't give up so easily.

This is not the first time Zhang Zhan had a brush with the authorities.

Zhang also supported Hong Kong, was detained in 2019 as well. She was detained for more than two months and was reportedly forced to undergo psychiatric assessments while under custody.

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