On October 30, Zhang Zhan’s brother Zhang Ju has started posting on Twitter about his concerns on Zhang Zhan’s condition in prison. He wrote on Twitter on October 30: “Zhang Zhan is 177cm tall and weighs less than 40kg at present. She is so stubborn. I think she may not be able to live long. In the coming cold winter, if she does not persist and survive, I hope the world can remember her as she was.”
Starting from February 2020, Zhang Zhan went to Wuhan as a citizen journalist to follow up and report on the Covid-19 epidemic. Therefore, she was arrested in May and sentenced to 4 years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”; Zhang Zhan said that all her reports were true, she have done nothing illegal. She refused to plead guilty and went on a hunger strike in prison to protest.
The Chinese authority knows only one way to keep Zhang Zhan alive, that is to force her to take food. How? Using feeding tube to fill her stomach with porridge! Yet this means only an extra torture to her. We call on the Chinese government to release immediately Zhang Zhan for medical parole and declare that she was not guilty for practicing her journalist duty.
Zhang Zhan was the first citizen journalist tried for challenging the official narrative of China’s pandemic response. Others including Chen Qiushi and Li Zehua were detained and reportedly later released. However the whereabouts of Chen Qiushi, Li Zehua and another journalist Fang Bin, remains unclear.