• Jailed journalist Zhang Zhan who showed China's initial response to Covid "nearing death"


    Beijing: Zhang Zhan, citizen journalist, who was jailed for her coverage of China’s initial response to Covid in Wuhan is almost ‘nearing death’ after going on hunger strike, her family said.

    Following the news many have called for her immediate release and also rights groups to intervene in the case.

    Zhang Zhan, 38, a former lawyer, travelled to Wuhan in February 2020 to report on the chaos at the pandemic's epicentre, questioning authorities' handling of the outbreak in her smartphone videos.

    She was detained in May 2020 and sentenced in December to four years in jail for "picking quarrels and provoking trouble" -- a charge routinely used to suppress dissent.

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    She is now severely underweight and "may not live for much longer", her brother Zhang Ju wrote last week on a Twitter account verified by people close to the matter.

    Zhang has been on a hunger strike and was force-fed through nasal tubes, her legal team, which did not have information on her current condition, told AFP earlier this year.

    "She may not survive the coming cold winter," Zhang Ju wrote, adding that he had urged his sister in letters to "take care of herself".

    "In her heart, it seems there is only God and her beliefs, with no care for anything else."

    Zhang Ju's posts sparked fresh calls for his sister's release, with Amnesty International urging the Chinese government Thursday to "release her immediately so that she can end her hunger strike and receive the appropriate medical treatment she desperately needs".

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