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Human rights group asks China to release activist Zhang Zhan

News Agencies | Updated on: 5 November 2021, 21:50 IST
Activist Zhang Zhan

Human Rights Watch on Friday asked China to immediately and unconditionally release activist Zhang Zhan, who was wrongfully imprisoned for reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic in the city of Wuhan in early 2020.

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, Human Rights Watch informed.

In February 2021, the authorities also revoked the license of Zhang's lawyer, Ren Quanniu, for representing Zhang along with a group of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists in a separate case.

Days ago, more than 50 activists representing different backgrounds had held an hour-long protest outside the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo taking forward their call to Japan and the international community to hold China accountable for the human rights violations by the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has also recently unveiled a series of plans that are seen to further consolidate the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) control over the media.


First published: 5 November 2021, 21:50 IST