Reports said Zhang Chan, a 37-year-old citizen journalist who had written about crowded hospitals and conditions in Wuhan earlier this year, was sentenced to four years in prison for “inciting controversy and causing trouble.”
Reuters, citing her lawyer mentioned There is likely to be an appeal and he said his client believes she is “being persecuted for exercising freedom of expression.”
New York times mentioned The prison sentence will likely be seen as “a stark warning to those who challenge the government’s official narrative about the pandemic.”
President Trump blamed China for its handling of the virus in the early stages. He said that due to Beijing’s mishandling, the disease was able to spread rapidly around the world.
In June, senior Chinese officials issued a lengthy report on the country’s response and defended Beijing’s actions.
“The Chinese government has not delayed or covered up anything,” said Ma Xiaowei, head of the National Health Commission. Instead, we promptly reported virus data and relevant information about the epidemic to the international community and made an important contribution to preventing and controlling the epidemic around the world.
The Reuters report said Zhang posted videos on YouTube that showed interviews with residents and photos of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
She was critical of the response and was eventually arrested in May. “The government’s method of running this city was just intimidation and a threat,” she said in one of the videos. “This is really the tragedy of this country.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report