"The Chinese government needs to be held to account for allowing yet another peaceful critic to fall gravely ill while unjustly imprisoned," said Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. "Governments should call for Zhang Zhan's urgent release to prevent an already terrible situation from becoming a tragic one."

Zhang Zhan, a citizen journalist imprisoned for reporting on China’s initial Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan in early 2020, is in desperate need of medical care, according to Human Rights Watch, CNN reports.

The US-based rights group is calling on authorities in Beijing to release Zhang, a former lawyer, who was detained in May 2020 and sentenced in December to four years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” — a charge commonly used by the Chinese government to target dissidents and human rights activists.
The 38-year-old has been on multiple hunger strikes since being detained and was briefly hospitalized but was sent back to prison despite her worsening health.
Zhang’s mother, who had a video visit with her in October, said her daughter could not hold her head up for lack of strength — she is 5 feet, 10 inches tall (1.78 meters), yet now weighs under 88 pounds (about 40 kilograms), and urgently needs medical treatment.

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