The European Union on Tuesday criticized the four-year sentence of Zhang Zhan (张 展), a 37-year-old woman who documented the situation in Wuhan during the peak of the epidemic in the Hubei capital.
The EU has called for the immediate release of the woman and human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng, and many other activists.
An EU spokesperson said Zhang was reportedly subjected to torture and ill-treatment during her detention, and her health conditions have seriously deteriorated.
The criticisms of the European Union come on the eve of the signing of an important trade agreement that should allow European companies easier access to the lucrative Chinese market.
Zhang was one of the first to recount what was happening in the crowded Chinese hospitals and during the lockdown in Wuhan, offering a more realistic picture than the official story. The woman was arrested in May and went on a hunger strike for a few months. Ren Quanniu, one of Zhang Zhan’s lawyers, expressed serious concern about her physical and mental well-being, stating that the woman is very weak. Ren said her client “looked devastated” when her sentence was announced.
During an interview, Zhang said he decided to travel to Wuhan in February after reading an online post from a resident about life in the city during the outbreak.
Once there, he began documenting what he saw on the streets and in hospitals in live streams and essays, despite threats from authorities, and his accounts were widely shared on social media.
China-underground is website about China and Chinese culture.