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Zhang Zhan was nominated for the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Award

Posted by on 2021/11/09. Filed under Breaking News,Headline News,International. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price expressed deep concern at a press conference Monday, November 8, about the plight of citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, who has been detained by Chinese authorities. “The United States is deeply concerned about the deteriorating health of Ms. Zhang Zhan, a citizen journalist from the People’s Republic of China,” he said.

According to multiple reports citing relatives, Ms. Zhang was close to death. In December 2020, Beijing authorities sentenced Zhang Zhan to four years in prison on charges related to her reporting on the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. The United States and other diplomatic missions have repeatedly expressed grave concern about her arbitrary detention and ill-treatment in detention. We once again call on the People’s Republic of China to release her immediately and unconditionally, and on Beijing to respect press freedom and the right of its people to freely express their opinions.”

Meanwhile, reporters Without Borders, a global press freedom rights group, nominated Zhang Zhan for the Press Freedom Prize in recognition of her courage and highlighting her precarious situation in prison.

Reporters Without Borders on Monday announced the nominees for its 2021 Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Awards, with journalists and media from 11 countries nominated in a total of three categories, including courage, independence and impact. The awards will be handed out on November 18. Zhang Zhan and three other female journalists were nominated for the Courage Award.

In its introduction to Zhang Zhan’s nomination, MSF said that despite repeated threats from the authorities, In February 2020, Zhang Zhan instantly uploaded numerous video reports to YouTube, WeChat and Twitter showing, among other things, the streets and hospitals in Wuhan, as well as the harassment of the families of Novel Coronavirus patients. As it was widely shared on social media, Zhang’s report became one of the main independent sources of information on the situation in Wuhan at the time.

After Zhang Zhan was captured in May 2020, there was no news or explanation from the authorities for several months, it added. She went on hunger strike but was force-fed. There are grave concerns that Zhang Zhan may continue to be subjected to torture and ill-treatment.

Zhang Zhan, 38, who graduated with a master’s degree in finance from Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, used to be a lawyer but lost his law license because of his rights protection activities. In December 2020, a Shanghai Pudong court sentenced her to four years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles”. Zhang is the first person in China to be sentenced for reporting on the Wuhan epidemic. Several other citizen journalists covering the Wuhan outbreak have either disappeared by the authorities, or have been unable to contact the outside world for a long time, and have been forced to keep a low profile. Mr. Zhang is currently being held in Shanghai.

Zhang Zhan has been on a hunger strike for a year and a half since May last year. Despite being forced to eat through a nasal tube, she recently weighed less than 40kg and “suffered irreversible damage to her health”.

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