China: Statement by the Spokesperson on the deteriorating health situation of Zhang Zhan

The health condition of Zhang Zhan is rapidly deteriorating, while she remains imprisoned. Ms Zhang has suffered, among other, from severe malnutrition. The EU urges China to take all necessary measures to ensure that Zhang Zhan receives urgent and adequate medical treatment, and is granted access to her family members, and lawyers of her choice.

Zhang Zhan was detained on 15 May 2020 and sentenced on 28 December 2020 to four years in prison on charges of ‘picking quarrels and stirring up trouble’ in view of her work as a citizen journalist, which included reporting about the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan. The EU calls upon China to abide by its international human rights obligations and immediately and unconditionally release Zhang Zhan. This urgent public call follows repeated – but still unanswered – requests about the situation of Zhang Zhan to the Chinese authorities.

Zhang Zhan is one of many citizens in China who have been imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression. The restrictions on freedom of expression, on access to information, as well as the intimidation, surveillance and detention of journalists, intellectuals, lawyers and activists in China, continue to be a source of great concern.

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