Update: CCP authorities transfer Zhang Zhan to Shanghai Women’s Prison; deny family’s request to visit

Zhang Zhan, a former lawyer, journalist, and human rights activist, now imprisoned. 
(Photo: ChinaAid)

(Shanghai*—April 05, 2021) An update from March 19 reveals that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities transferred Chinese citizen journalist, a former practicing lawyer, Zhang Zhan to the Shanghai women’s prison. Recently, when Ms. Zhang’s mother traveled to the prison and requested a scheduled visit with her daughter, officials denied this request. They directed her to phone the number [nonworking] they provided.

As Ms. Zhang, serving a four-year sentence, has continued her hunger strike to protest the CCP’s persecution and human rights abuses, the detention center threatened to use a thicker stomach and nasal tube in force-feeding her. Consequently, she expressed her willingness to take in “a small amount of food” to avoid more complications from the intubation. “Eating after a long hunger strike will cause stomach pain; if the hunger strike continues,” Ms. Zhang said. Her mother and other family members report they are concerned about Ms. Zang’s health as well as her condition.

According to information a Zhang Zhan Concern Group released on February 3, when a police officer permitted Ms. Zhang’s mother to use his phone to video chat with Ms. Zhang, their conversation lasted approximately 20 minutes [interrupted several times]. When her mother urged Ms. Zhang to resume regular eating, she responded “Sorry….”

Prior to her imprisonment, Ms. Zhang (born September 2, 1983), a native of Xianyang City, Shaanxi Province and resident of Pudong New Area, Shanghai, worked as a senior executive of a security company in Shanghai. She had traveled to Wuhan to report on the COVID-19 epidemic. During her time there, she filmed more than a hundred short videos. In one of her videos, Ms. Zhang states, “If a person chooses to remain in sadness rather than doing something about it, then that emotion is cheap.” Shanghai police cross-provincially arrested Ms. Zhang on May 14, 2020.

The following timeline highlights Zhang Zhan’s case:

  • In 2019, Ms. Zhang began to repost information (videos and images) on social media platforms such as WeChat regarding the Hong Kong protests.

  • On September 9, 2019, Shanghai Huangpu District Police officers detained Ms. Zhang on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” During this time, authorities subjected her to mandatory “psychiatric evaluation” twice.

  • On November 26, 2019, authorities released Ms. Zhang.

  • In early 2020, due to the spread of COVID-19 in Wuhan, Ms. Zhang traveled there to conduct a field investigation, and report on the situation.

  • On May 14, 2020, CCP authorities arrested Ms. Zhang. At this time, she started her hunger strike.

  • On May 16, 2020, Shanghai Huangpu District Police officials criminally detained Mrs. Zhang on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.”

  • On June 19, 2020, the Pudong New Area People’s procuratorate approved Ms. Zhang’s case.

  • At the end of June, 2020, Ms. Zhang began an uninterrupted food and water hunger strike.
  • At the beginning of July, 2020, prison officials began to force-feed water and food to Ms. Zhang.

  • At the beginning of September, 2020, news about Ms. Zhang’s hunger strike and ensuing force-feeding began to reach the outside world.

  • On September 18, 2020, authorities transferred Ms. Zhang’s case to the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court.

  • At the end of October, 2020, Ms. Zhang’s lawyer intervened and revealed that she had been on a hunger strike for five months to protest being forced to plead guilty.

  • In November, 2020, the prosecution recommended that the court sentence Ms. Zhang to five years in prison. With the revelation of the indictment letter, Ms. Zhang’s case began to gain international attention.

  • After Ms. Zhang’s meeting with her lawyer at the end of November 2020, the public learned of her hunger strike and about correctional officers force-feeding her.

  • After Lawyer Ren Quanniu met with Ms. Zhang in December 2020, he revealed that she looked nothing like her old self. She told Lawyer Ren, “Every day was tormentful [sic].”
  • On December 28, 2020, the court sentenced Ms. Zhang to four years in prison (until May 13, 2024) for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.”

  • On January 13, 2021, when Lawyer Zhang Keke last met with Ms. Zhang, she had gone from a full to a semi-hunger strike.

Pastor Bob Fu, PhD, founder of ChinaAid, firmly supports Ms. Zhang’s legal rights and interests, including the right for her to meet with her family. Simultaneously, Dr. Fu urges netizens/the public to send letters to Zhang Zhan.** “A greeting and a word of encouragement will not only be like sending rays of warm sunshine …, but it may also help prevent harsh treatment of Ms. Zhang by prison authorities,” he said. Dr. Fu posted Ms, Zhang’s address on Twitter:

Zhang Zhan

Area 5, Shanghai Women’s Prison No. 1601

Zhangjing Road Sijing Town, Songjiang District

Shanghai 201601


Dr. Fu confirmed that CCP officials transferred Ms. Zhang Zhan to Shanghai women’s prison to continue the rest of her sentence.

~ Gao Zhensai, ChinaAid Special Correspondent

*bordered by Jiangsu Province to the north and west and Zhejiang Province to the southwest
** information regarding writing letters to Chinese prisoners

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