The Price for truth
ChinaAid received reports in December 2022 that Zhang Zhan’s mother corresponded with her daughter. Despite her situation in prison, Zhang encouraged her mother enduring chemotherapy.
Zhang Zhan is a Christian freelance journalist and former lawyer who covered the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, Hubei Province. In May 2020, she disappeared shortly after releasing a video criticizing China’s response to the pandemic.
Short secret trial
She suffered seven months of detention until her trial in December where she was found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and sentenced to four years in prison. Judges refused her request for bail and prohibited the trial from being live-streamed.
Perilous hunger strike
To protest her arbitrary detention, Zhang went on a voluntary hunger strike. She has lost over half her previous weight, her lawyer reported, and her health has deteriorated considerably. Officials repeatedly tied her to a prison hospital bed and force-fed her. In July of 2021, she was hospitalized.
Lin Zhao freedom award
At the end of 2021, ChinaAid chose to honor Zhang Zhan with the Lin Zhao Freedom Award. Her fight for truth and freedom in China inspired many at the time, mobilizing the international community to call for her unconditional release.
According to her letters, Zhang’s mental well-being improved considerably. However, there have been concerning updates concerning her health. She weighed around 90 pounds, gaining very little weight after ending her previous hunger strike.