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UPDATE 26/11/21: Zhang remains in a critical condition. She is feeling incredibly weak and has no energy to walk or raise her head. Her family submitted a medical bail application on 15 November to Shanghai’s Women’s Prison but have yet to receive a response. Still on partial hunger strike in protest, Zhang Zhan is at grave risk of death and her family do not expect her to live through the winter if she is not released on medical grounds.

The Chinese government is on a mission for economic and political dominance, and nothing will stand in their way - not their people, and not the truth.

Human rights defenders like Zhang Zhan, a 37-year-old former lawyer turned citizen journalist, are in danger. Zhang had uploaded dozens of short videos, photos and observations of life under lockdown in Wuhan on social media.

Zhang put her life on the line. She knew the truth mattered, and she was one of the only sources of uncensored, first-hand information about the epidemic prepared to publish her stories.

But then she vanished.

Zhang’s family have not been allowed to see her since she finally reappeared in police custody in Shanghai, 640km away from Wuhan.

Zhang was the first citizen journalist tried for challenging the official narrative of China’s pandemic response. She was sentenced to four years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”.

In protest of her arrest and asserting her innocence, Zhang went on a hunger strike in June 2020.

The reponse to her protest, put simply, was torture. Zhang was reportedly force-fed, made to wear leg shackles, and her hands have been restrained 24 hours a day for more than three months.

Attending court in December last year, Zhang's body was so malnourished that she was placed in a wheelchair. In July of this year, she was rushed to hospital to treat severe malnutrition. By October, Zhang was back in prison.

Zhang Zhan is now at risk of dying. Her condition is rapidly deteriorating. If the Chinese authorities don’t release her immediately so that she can end her hunger strike and receive the appropriate medical treatment she desperately needs, her family do not expect her to live through the winter.

Human rights defenders in China like Zhang Zhan are making tremendous sacrifices in the pursuit of a more just and free country. Without people like you we cannot protect people like Zhang taking a stand for human rights.

You can save the lives of political prisoners speaking out against the Chinese Government. Donate now!


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