Updated: 09 November 2021 20:59 IST
Washington [US], Nov. 9 (ANI): The United States expressed deep concern on Monday over the deteriorating health of Chinese journalist Zhang Zhan, who was falsely imprisoned for reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan city in early 2020.
“The United States is deeply concerned about the deteriorating health of PRC citizen journalist Zhang Zhan. According to multiple reports citing comments from her relatives, Zhang is near death. In December 2020, Beijing authorities sentenced Zhang to four years jail on charges with her journalism about COVID-19 in Wuhan,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a news conference.
“The United States, along with other diplomatic missions, have repeatedly expressed our grave concern about the arbitrary nature of its detention and its ill-treatment during that detention. We reiterate our appeal to the PRC for its immediate and unconditional release and to Beijing to press and people’s right to express themselves freely,” he added.
Human Rights Watch last Friday asked China to immediately and unconditionally release activist Zhang Zhan.
Zhang has been on several hunger strikes since her arrest in May 2020 and her family is in urgent need of medical care, Human Rights Watch said.
Zhang was also hospitalized for 11 days in August 2021, but returned to prison despite her deteriorating health condition.
“The Chinese government must be held accountable for allowing yet another peaceful critic to become seriously ill while unjustly imprisoned,” said Yaqiu Wang, a senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Zhang is a former lawyer and she went to Wuhan, where COVID-19 was first identified, in February 2020 to document the coronavirus outbreak. In May, police arrested Zhang and took her back to Shanghai, where she lived.
In jail, Chinese citizen journalist Zhang Zhan is nearly dead after months of hunger strikes in protest against her imprisonment, a Washington-based news service has learned.
“I don’t think she will live much longer,” Zhang’s brother Zhang Ju tweeted, reported the US government-funded private non-profit news service Radio Free Asia (RFA). “If she doesn’t make it through the coming winter, I hope the world will remember her as she once was,” he added. (ANI)