December 11th (UPI) – A Chinese citizen journalist who took to the streets of Wuhan in February is being tortured on hunger strike, according to her lawyer.
Zhang Zhan, 37, a former lawyer detained near Shanghai, forcibly inserted feeding tubes and restrained her arms, according to The Guardian and CBS News.
“In addition to headache, dizziness, and stomach ache, there was also pain in the mouth and throat. She said this could be inflammation from tube insertion,” Zhang Keke, Zhang’s attorney, said The Guardian.
Zhang Keke also said in his blog post that his client complained of “constant agony” when he visited her on Tuesday.
“She was wearing thick pajamas with a belt around her waist, her left hand in front and right hand in the back,” he said.
Zhang Zhan was arrested in May and charged with “engaging in disputes and causing anger” after sharing video from Wuhan during the first coronavirus outbreak. In November she was formally charged with divulging false information and faces five years in prison.
The first known novel coronavirus outbreak occurred in a fish market in Wuhan in late December, but the Chinese central government refused to transmit human-to-human transmission for four weeks. During this time, Wuhan’s residents traveled both domestically and abroad.
Zhang started reporting from Wuhan after the lockdown and criticized the government. A lawyer who spoke to CBS News on Friday said Zhang’s decision to go to a police station to look for Fang Bin, a Wuhan resident who went missing while it was reporting, may have played a role in her arrest.
Fang remains missing after filming flooded hospitals. Fang’s footage also showed police knocking on his door shortly before he disappeared.
Other Chinese nationals arrested for reporting from Wuhan include Chen Qiushi, a former lawyer, and Li Zehua.