Washington [US], November 9 (ANI): The United States on Monday expressed deep concern about the deteriorating health condition of Chinese journalist Zhang Zhan, who was wrongfully imprisoned for reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic in the city of Wuhan in early 2020.
"The United States is deeply concerned about the deteriorating health of PRC citizen journalist Zhang Zhan. According to multiple reports citing her relatives' comments, Zhang is near death. In December of 2020, Beijing authorities sentenced Zhang to four years in prison on charges associated with her journalism on COVID-19 in Wuhan," US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a press briefing.
"The United States, along with other diplomatic missions - we have repeatedly expressed our serious concerns about the arbitrary nature of her detention and her mistreatment during it. We reiterate our call to the PRC for her immediate and unconditional release and for Beijing to respect a free press and the right of people to express themselves freely," he added.
Human Rights Watch last Friday asked China to immediately and unconditionally release activist Zhang Zhan.
Zhang has been on multiple hunger strikes since being detained in May 2020 and her family that she is in desperate need of medical care, Human Rights Watch informed.
Zhang was also hospitalised for 11 days in August 2021 but returned to prison despite her worsening health condition.
"The Chinese government needs to be held to account for allowing yet another peaceful critic to fall gravely ill while unjustly imprisoned," said Yaqiu Wang, a senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Zhang is a former lawyer and she went to Wuhan in February 2020, where COVID-19 was first identified, to document the coronavirus outbreak. In May, police detained Zhang and took her back to Shanghai, where she lived.
Jailed Chinese citizen journalist Zhang Zhan is close to death following months of intermittent hunger strikes in protest at her jailing, a Washington based news service has learned.
"I don't think she's going to live much longer," Zhang's brother Zhang Ju tweeted, US government-funded private non-profit news service Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported. "If she doesn't make it through the coming winter, I hope the world will remember her as she once was," he added. (ANI)