Citizen-journalist and Wuhan whistle-blower Zhang Zhan jailed for 4 years

Citizen-journalist and Wuhan whistle-blower Zhang Zhan, 37, was handed a four-year jail term on Monday at a court in Pudong, a district of Shanghai, on grounds of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” her lawyer said.

“I don’t understand. All she did was say a few true words, and for that she got four years,” said Shao Wenxia, Zhang’s mother, who attended the trial with her husband.

Zhang’s lawyer Ren Quanniu told Reuters: “We will probably appeal,” adding that the trial, ended at 12.30 p.m.

“Ms Zhang believes she is being persecuted for exercising her freedom of speech,” he had said before the trial.

Police enforced tight security outside the court where the trial opened seven months after Zhang’s detention, although some supporters were undeterred.

A man in a wheelchair, who told Reuters he came from the central province of Henan to demonstrate support for Zhang as a fellow Christian, wrote her name on a poster before police arrived to escort him away.

Foreign journalists were denied entry to the court “due to the epidemic”, court security officials said.

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