China due to free vlogger who filmed Wuhan lockdown


The story of Zhang Zhan, a Chinese citizen journalist, is one of courage, perseverance, and the quest for truth amidst adversity. Zhang Zhan gained international attention for her fearless reporting during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic in Wuhan, China. Here’s a detailed account of her journey, the challenges she faced, and the impact of her work.

Zhang Zhan, a former lawyer turned journalist, became widely known for her documentation of the situation in Wuhan when the Covid-19 outbreak first emerged in early 2020. She traveled from her home in Shanghai to Wuhan to report on the ground, capturing what she saw in hospitals and on the streets through livestreams and essays.

In February 2020, Zhang Zhan arrived in Wuhan, determined to show the world the truth about the pandemic’s impact. Her videos and writings on social media platforms like YouTube, WeChat, and Twitter quickly gained attention, providing uncensored, firsthand information that was crucial during a time of intense government censorship.

Zhang Zhan’s reporting did not go unnoticed by the Chinese authorities. She faced constant harassment and threats from officials who demanded she stop her documentation. In one livestream, an official warned her to cease filming or face consequences, but Zhang Zhan refused to be silenced.

On May 14, 2020, Zhang Zhan was reported missing, only for authorities to later announce that she had been detained by police in Shanghai. She was charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a common charge used against activists in China, in November of that year. In December, she was sentenced to four years in prison.

During her detention, Zhang Zhan went on a hunger strike to protest her unjust imprisonment. She was force-fed through a tube after her health deteriorated rapidly. Reports indicated that her weight dropped to a perilous 37 kg, and she suffered from severe malnutrition and other health issues.

Zhang Zhan’s case garnered international attention, with media watchdogs and human rights organizations advocating for her release. Organizations like Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International condemned her imprisonment and called for urgent medical treatment due to her declining health.

As of now, Zhang Zhan’s whereabouts and condition post-release remain unclear. It’s common for released activists in China to face continued surveillance and restrictions on their movements. Many are kept quiet through informal means, and some choose to leave the country to continue their advocacy work abroad.

Zhang Zhan’s courageous reporting highlighted the critical role of citizen journalists in providing independent, uncensored information to the public, especially during times of crisis. Her work contributed to global understanding of the pandemic’s early days and the Chinese government’s response.

The Chinese government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic included tightening censorship measures to control the narrative. Critical voices, including Zhang Zhan’s, faced suppression, with posts and videos being swiftly deleted and activists receiving warnings and threats.

Zhang Zhan’s story echoes that of Dr. Li Wenliang, an early whistleblower who warned about the virus and was silenced by authorities. Dr. Li’s tragic death from Covid-19 sparked international outrage and highlighted the risks faced by those who speak out against government policies.

Zhang Zhan’s journey from lawyer to citizen journalist to detainee symbolizes the ongoing struggle for freedom of speech and press freedom in China. Her bravery in documenting the truth in Wuhan, despite threats and risks, serves as a testament to the power of journalism and the importance of defending human rights.

Zhang Zhan’s legacy will continue to inspire journalists and activists around the world. Her determination to uncover the truth and hold governments accountable is a reminder of the sacrifices made by individuals who stand up for their beliefs, even in the face of adversity.

As the world continues to grapple with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, Zhang Zhan’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of a free press and the need to protect the rights of journalists everywhere. Her courage and resilience will not be forgotten.

In conclusion, Zhang Zhan’s story is one of courage, perseverance, and the unwavering pursuit of truth. Her journey from citizen journalist to detainee highlights the challenges faced by independent reporters in China and underscores the critical importance of press freedom worldwide. As we reflect on her story, let us remember the sacrifices made by individuals like Zhang Zhan and continue to advocate for the protection of human rights and freedom of speech everywhere.


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