Beijing (AP) – A A Chinese court on Monday sentenced a former lawyer, who was imprisoned for four years in the early stage of coronovirus, to “raise fights and provoke trouble”.
Shanghai’s economic center Pudong New Area People’s Court sentenced Zhang Zhan, in which he interviewed foreign media after allegations of spreading misinformation, disrupting public order and “maliciously outbreak”.
Lawyer Zhang Keke confirmed the conviction but said it was “inconvenient” to provide details – usually a sign that the court has issued a partial gag order. He said the court did not ask Zhang whether she would appeal, nor did she indicate whether she reported. .
The 37-year-old Zhang traveled to Wuhan in February and posted on various social media platforms about the outbreak that emerged in the central Chinese city late last year.
He was arrested in May amidst stringent nationwide measures aimed at curbing outbreaks and heavy censorship to stem criticism of the government’s initial response. Jang allegedly staged a prolonged hunger strike while in custody, prompting authorities to forcibly feed him, and is said to be in poor health.
China has been accused of covering up the initial outbreak and delaying the release of critical information, causing the virus to sicken more than 80 million people worldwide and allowing it to spread and contribute to the epidemic that killed about 1.8 million Has given Beijing strictly denied the allegations, saying it took swift action that bought time to prepare the rest of the world.
The ruling Communist Party of China tightly controls the media and wants to stop the dissemination of information that it has not approved to release. Early in the outbreak, authorities reprimanded several Wuhan doctors for “spreading rumors” after alerting friends on social media. The best known of the doctors, Li Wenliang, later succumbed to COVID-19.
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