Calgary Herald

BEIJING CRITICIZED FOR JAILING JOURNALIST

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The European Union and United States on Tuesday criticized the jailing of a citizen-journalist in China who reported on the early outbreak of the coronaviru­s pandemic from Wuhan.

A Chinese court handed down a four-year jail term on Monday to Zhang Zhan, who reported at the peak of the crisis in the city where the coronaviru­s first emerged. Her lawyer said Zhang was jailed on the grounds of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.”

U. S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that he strongly condemned Zhang's conviction and called for her immediate and unconditio­nal release, accusing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of restrictin­g and manipulati­ng informatio­n about the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.

“Her hasty trial, to which foreign observers were denied access, shows how fearful the CCP is of Chinese citizens who speak the truth,” Pompeo said.

The EU also called for Zhang's immediate release.

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