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Congressional Freedom of the Press Caucus Co-Chairs Schiff and Chabot Denounce Sentencing of Chinese Journalist Reporting on COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington, December 30, 2020 | comments
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Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Adam Schiff (D-CA), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Freedom of the Press Caucus, released a statement following the sentencing of Zhang Zhan, a Chinese citizen journalist who reported from Wuhan during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic:

“We are deeply concerned by the recent conviction of Zhang Zhan for her reporting on the early handling of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan last winter,” the Co-Chairs said.

“Ms. Zhang’s photos and short video clips uploaded to WeChat, Twitter, and YouTube documented the harsh reality of life in Wuhan during lockdown in the early days of the virus, informing the Chinese people and the world about the extent of the crisis at a critical time. We are alarmed at the treatment of Ms. Zhang and call on PRC authorities to immediately release her and all others detained in connection with sharing news about the coronavirus.”

On December 28, Zhang Zhan was sentenced to four years in jail by the Shanghai Pudong People’s Court for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” She is accused of spreading false information and accepting media interviews with foreign outlets. Her lawyer reports that Ms. Zhang has been on a hunger strike since June and was force-fed via a nasal tube while shackled in prison. Other citizen journalists who reported on the situation in Wuhan have gone missing or been under close surveillance for months.

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