All alone and in the throes of death: The worrisome case of Zhang Zhan

Zhang Zhan, jailed for reporting the Covid-19 outbreak, would need global efforts for her release

Citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, who has been placed under arrest by the Chinese administration over her Covid-19 reporting, is in bad shape. Or that is what the reports that have been filing the headline space point at.

Amid concerns of her deteriorating health conditions while in jail, the Joe Biden administration in the United States has called upon the Asian communist nation to release Zhan.

Zhan, who has been awarded a jail term of four years, had been detained in May last year after her reportage of the coronavirus spread from Wuhan was noticed across the globe.

Ever since she was detained, the brave citizen journalist had been on an intermittent hunger strike. The situation has worsened at the moment, and there are reports that Zhan is inching towards death.

US urges China to release Zhang Zhan

The move by the United States administration to urge the China government to release Zhang Zhan comes as a follow up to reports that hinted at her worsened health conditions.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price has been quoted by a BBC report as saying that the US government has repeatedly expressed serious concerns about the arbitrary nature of Zhan’s detention and mistreatment while in detention. He reiterated the US call to China, urging the government of the Asian nation to ensure an unconditional release of Zhan.

Zhan’s misery began the day she decided to travel to Wuhan back in February 2020 to know more about what was being spoken about in Wuhan about an outbreak. The 38-year-old, who is also a former lawyer, had come across a post online written by a Wuhan resident detailing the condition of lives in the city soon after the coronavirus emerged.

Detained for reporting the truth

On reaching Wuhan, Zhan had documented all that she witnessed along the streets, hospitals and residential areas. Ignoring the threats from authorities, she managed to Livestream the actual conditions in Wuhan at a time the Covid-19 pandemic was gaining in strength. Her documentation of stories from Wuhan became instant hits on social media, and all of them were shared extensively. This actually made the world sit up and take note.

Soon, she was detained over allegations that she was provoking trouble. Zhang Zhan then began her hunger strike in jail, where she was force-fed.

Zhan’s health conditions have worsened over the past months. Though her kin had been requesting parole for her, the administration seems to turn a deaf ear to all such requests. It would now need the international community to join hands for her release. For, only sincere efforts towards securing her release would give her a chance to live.

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