Her lawyer claimed that a female journalist was held for more than six months after the outbreak of the Coronavirus was reported in Wuhan, a feeding tube was forcefully inserted and her arms were tied to prevent her from being pulled.
Zhang Zhan, a 37-year-old former lawyer, went on a hunger strike at a detention center near Shanghai. Zhang was arrested in May and charged with “stirring up controversy and causing trouble,” an accusation frequently used against critics and activists inside China, after covering social media and broadcast accounts. Last month, she was formally charged with spreading false information.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Zhang’s lawyer, Zhang Keiki, said he visited his client on Tuesday afternoon and found her sick and exhausted.
He wrote, “She was wearing thick pajamas with a belt around the waist, her left hand fixed in front and her right hand behind her.” “She said she had a tube in the stomach recently and because she wanted to pull it out, she was tied.”
Zhang Keiki said she was in “constant agony” from being restricted 24 hours a day, and needed help to go to the bathroom.
In addition to headaches, dizziness, and stomach pain, there was also pain in her mouth and throat. She said this could be an infection due to an gastric tube insertion. “
Zhang Keiki said he told Zhang that her family, friends and lawyer urged her to stop her hunger strike, but she refused. He said Zhang told him that she was expecting a court hearing in December, and now it appears there are no plans to hold a single hearing, and she didn’t know if she would survive.
Zhang was previously arrested on similar charges by Chinese authorities in 2018, and again in 2019 for expressing support for Hong Kong activists. She denies accusation of falsifying information, and told her lawyer that all the information was gathered directly through interviews with Wuhan residents.
Zhang is among several Chinese journalists arrested this year after traveling to Wuhan to report on and respond to the virus outbreak.
Chen Kyoshi, a former lawyer-turned-journalist, was arrested in January. Li Zihua, who traveled to Wuhan to report after Chen’s disappearance, disappeared in early February, but was released in April. Fang Bin, a Wuhan resident, who posted footage of overcrowded hospitals, and photos of police knocking on his door at the same time, went missing, but has not been seen since.
The Chinese government’s crackdown on activists, dissidents and human rights activities appears to have intensified this year.
Chinese human rights defenders said on Thursday that authorities this week alone have detained lawyer Tang Jitian, apparently attorneys Shi Yan, Li Heping, his family, Wang Kuanzhang, his family, and attorney Yu Wenchang’s wife. After publishing videos of some police actions at lawyers’ homes, the Human Rights Defense Organization accused the authorities of turning “the Human Rights Day into a field day to attack human rights defenders.”
Co-reporting by Lilian Yang