China sentences lawyer who reported on coronavirus outbreak to 4 years

Hong Kong China Detained
Posted at 9:20 AM, Dec 28, 2020

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese court has sentenced a former lawyer who reported on the early stage of the coronavirus outbreak to four years in prison on charges of “picking fights and provoking trouble."

The court in the financial hub of Shanghai gave the sentence to Zhang Zhan following accusations she spread false information, gave interviews to foreign media, disrupted public order and “maliciously manipulated" the outbreak.

Prosecutors say she published "large amounts of fake information," but her lawyers say no concrete examples have been provided to prove this.

Zhang traveled to Wuhan in February and posted on various social media platforms about the outbreak that is believed to have emerged in the central Chinese city late last year.

She was arrested in May amid heavy censorship to deflect criticism of the government’s initial response to the outbreak.