Citizen journalist Zhang Zhan’s life is at risk, as her health continues to deteriorate at a dramatic rate. Admitted to hospital due to severe malnutrition on July 31, 2021 she now weighs less than 40 kg and is suffering from swelling in her legs and feet. Allowed to speak to her daughter for the first time since February, Zhang Zhan’s mother urged her to reconsider the partial hunger strike. However, Zhang Zhan remains determined to continue the action as a way to assert her innocence and protest her sentence, despite the grave risk to her health. Without access to family and lawyers of her choice, Zhang Zhan remains at risk of further torture and other ill-treatment by the authorities, especially if she continues her hunger strike.
Please take action as-soon-as possible. This Urgent Action expires on October 27, 2021.
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Director Chen Jianhua
Director of Shanghai Women’s Prison
No 1601, Zhangjing Road, Sijing Zhen,
Songjiang Qu, Shanghai 201601
People’s Republic of China
Ambassador Qin Gang
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place NW
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202 495 2266 / Fax: 202 495 2138
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @ChineseEmbinUS ; @AmbQinGang
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Dear Director Chen:
I am writing to express grave concern for the life of citizen journalist Zhang Zhan (张展), whose health has deteriorated so dramatically over the last months that she has recently required hospitalization. A prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising her right to freedom of expression, Zhang Zhan should not have spent a single day in prison.
While I was relieved to hear that Zhang Zhan was able to speak to her mother on August 2, 2021 the first time since early February 2021, it was extremely upsetting to learn about her dire physical condition. According to the authorities, Zhang was admitted to hospital on July 31, 2021 due to severe malnutrition. With Zhang Zhan weighing less than 40 kg and suffering from swollen legs and feet, I am deeply concerned that she may die while in your care.
While Zhang is determined to continue her partial hunger strike to assert her innocence and protest her sentencing, it is important that she does not face any further incidents of torture and other ill-treatment as she experienced in Pudong New District Detention Centre. To that end, it is imperative that Zhang has regular access to her family and lawyers of her choice.
I therefore urge you to:
Respect Zhang Zhan’s right to health, autonomy and expression, and ensure that she has prompt and regular access to medical attention,
Pending her release, ensure that Zhang Zhan has regular, unrestricted access to her family and lawyers of her choice and is not subjected further to torture or other ill-treatment; and
Call for the release of Zhang Zhan immediately and unconditionally, as she has been imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising her human right to freedom of expression.