Human rights experts said that since the start of the hunger strike, Ms. Zhan’s health has deteriorated rapidly, unable to walk, and her life is at stake.
“The failure of the Chinese authorities to act quickly and effectively could have fatal consequences for Zhang Zhan“, the Special Rapporteur warned Joint Statement Before asking her to be released immediately and unconditionally and receive treatment.
According to UN experts, they are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, The 38-year-old woman has been detained in Shanghai since May 2020.
She was sentenced to four years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” Initially posted online criticizing the government’s handling Coronavirus disease Experts explained that the outbreak.
They added that she was accused of spreading false information in Wuhan and inciting negative emotions about the epidemic.
They insisted: “Zhang Zhan and some other citizen journalists were arrested and detained for reporting the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan. This is a matter of major public interest and it is deeply disturbing.”
“This not only represents the authorities’ efforts to censor information in the public interest, but it is also a worrying measure of retaliation designed to punish those who try to bypass the censorship system to share information in order to maintain public health.”
Since her arrest, Ms. Zhan’s hunger strike has caused serious complications such as severe malnutrition, gastric ulcer, and lower extremity edema. And she was so weak that she could no longer raise her head unaided.
The expert explained that in late July 2021, her poor health led her to stay in the prison hospital for 11 days, during which time she was reportedly tied to a hospital bed and forced to feed.
Experts described her condition as “rapidly deteriorating” and expressed serious concern about her life without immediate care.
“As long as Zhang Zhan is detained, the Chinese authorities have an obligation to take care of her, And failure to provide adequate medical services violates this obligation,” they said.
“We have previously expressed deep concern about the refusal of detainees to receive medical care, who subsequently tragically died during detention or shortly after release. We urge the authorities to release Zhang Zhan on humanitarian grounds and prevent her from suffering the same devastating fate. .”
The independent expert pointed out that they are contacting the authorities on this matter.
Independent point of view
The signatory of the Special Rapporteur’s statement is Irene Khan, The right to freedom of opinion and expression; Mary Lawler, at The situation of human rights defenders; Morris Tidball-Binz Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution And Tlaleng Mofokeng, in Right to physical and mental health.
In addition, behind the appeal Working Group on Arbitrary Detention It is Elina Steinerte, Miriam Estrada-Castillo, Leigh Toomey and Mumba Malila.
The Special Rapporteur is the so-calledSpecial procedures Human Rights Council. They work on a voluntary basis; they are not United Nations staff, and their work is not paid. They are independent of any government or organization and serve as individuals.