. . .[B]ecause of China’s lies, the world is grappling with a pandemic.
Fast forward nine months later and China is punishing citizen journalists who warned about the deadly virus.
On Monday, 37-year-old Zhang Zhan, a former lawyer and YouTuber who frequently uploaded videos about her first-hand experiences of crowded hospitals and empty streets, was sentenced to four years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Her videos included interviews and commentary with residents as well as footage from hospitals and train stations. Zhang also posted videos of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where the majority of the United States’ 17 intelligence agencies believe that the coronavirus originated. Obviously, Zhang’s videos were something that ran counter to the Chinese Community Party’s narrative, that the coronavirus was under control thanks to President Xi Jinping’s leadership, Reuters reported.
“I don’t understand. All she did was say a few true words, and for that she got four years,” Zhang’s mother, Shao Wenxia, said following the verdict.
Beijing's selection of the sleepy period between Christmas and New Year's suggests even it is embarrassed to sentence citizen-journalist Zhang Zhan to four years in prison for having chronicled the uncensored version of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. https://t.co/xA4bShijxd pic.twitter.com/cT9nVFcyeH
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) December 28, 2020
To make matters even worse, Chinese officials are accused of purposefully holding the hearings between Christmas and New Year’s so there would be less media coverage from those in the Western Hemisphere, including the United States. Police in Shanghai also prevented foreign journalists from entering the court building, citing “the epidemic” as the reason. (Read more from “China Formally Punishes Journalist for Exposing COVID” HERE)