Chinese Journalist Faces Prison Time Over Wuhan COVID Reporting

Chinese authorities indicted a Shanghai-based citizen journalist for allegedly sending “false information” after she reported on the coronavirus outbreak in the city of Wuhan, China, early this year, a prosecution document released on Monday and seen by the Guardian revealed.

According to the indictment sheet, Zhang Zhan, 37, is accused of sending “false information through text, video and other media through the Internet media such as WeChat [Chinese messaging and social media app], Twitter and YouTube.”

“She also accepted interviews from overseas media Free Radio Asia and Epoch Times and maliciously speculated on Wuhan’s Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] epidemic,” the document stated.

A former lawyer, Zhang was arrested in May following months of continuous online reporting on Wuhan’s coronavirus outbreak via social media platforms. Her reporting was highly critical of municipal authorities’ handling of the outbreak. Authorities accused Zhang of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” a crime regularly used to jail political dissidents in China. The charge carries a prison sentence of up to five years.

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