Zhang, a former lawyer, traveled to the central Chinese city in early February to report the epidemic and subsequent attempts to contain it, just as the authorities began to rein in the Chinese state-run and private media.
Her posts abruptly stopped in mid-May, and it was later revealed that police had detained her and taken back to Shanghai, a city more than 640 kilometers (400 miles) from where she lives.
Zhang is the first female citizen journalist who has been sentenced for her role in reporting the coronavirus pandemic. But it is not the first time it has entered into with the authorities.
According to the indictment, she was detained twice for 10 days in 2019 for „picking out differences and stirring up trouble,“ but the document did not specify the reason for her detention.
One of several
Zhang is one of a number of independent reporters who have been detained or disappeared in China since the beginning of the epidemic, as the authorities have clamped down on coverage of the virus and propaganda outlets have gone to exaggerate the portrayal of Beijing’s response as effective and timely.
While sporadic outbreaks emerged and were quickly suppressed through lockdowns and quarantines, China had brought the virus under control, allowing the country to return to relative normality.
However, restrictions on the press have not been lifted, and Chinese state media have begun to aggressively promote an alternative origin story of the epidemic, with allegations that the coronavirus may have been spreading outside the country before the initial outbreak in Wuhan.
„Student. Popkulturní ninja. Vášnivý expert na potraviny. Oddaný televizní geek. Twitteraholic.“