Zhang Zhan 张展

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Zhang Zhan 张展

Crime: “Picking quarrels and provoking trouble”

Length of Punishment: N/A

Court: N/A

Trial Date: N/A

Sentencing Date: N/A

Dates of Detention/Arrest/Indictment: May 15, 2020 (criminally detained); June 19, 2020 (arrested)

Place of Incarceration: Pudong New District Detention Center, Shanghai Municipality


Shanghai police criminally detained citizen journalist and activist Zhang Zhan (张展) on May 15, 2020, on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” She had initially gone missing on May 14 in Wuhan. On June 19, 2020, Pudong New Distict Procuratorate approved the formal arrest of Zhang. She is being held at Pudong New District Detention Center in Shanghai. Zhang Zhan had travelled to Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, in early February. She reported numerous stories including the detentions of other independent reporters and harassment of families of victims seeking accountability from the epicenter via her WeChat, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

On August 31, authorities refused to allow Zhang’s lawyer Ren Quanniu to visit her on the grounds she needed to sign the entrustment papers despite being in custody, even though her family had signed the papers. Zhang’s lawyer Dai Peiqing was granted a meeting on September 9. He learnt that Zhang Zhan had started a hunger strike on September 2 and detention center authorities had begun to forcibly feed her. He reported her health was very poor.

A former lawyer, Zhang Zhan, born in the 1980s, has long been active in speaking out about politics and the human rights situation in China. She has been repeatedly harassed and threatened by the authorities. In 2019, she spoke out on the Hong Kong protests by posting comments, writing articles and holding up placards to support the protesters. In September 2019, she was summoned by Shanghai police and was later criminally detained and arrested on suspicion of “picking quarrels” for her support for Hong Kong. Police released her on November 26, 2019. During her detention, she was reportedly forced to undergo psychiatric examination twice.

Further Information

Police Detain Citizen Journalist Zhang Zhan, Who Reported on COVID-19 in Wuhan, May 18, 2020, CHRD

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