Pompeo Demands Release Of Journalist Imprisoned By China For Exposing Wuhan COVID Outbreak

Image Credits: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the Communist Chinese government to release an imprisoned citizen journalist who had exposed the initial coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.

In a statement released Tuesday, Pompeo demanded that the Chinese Communist Party “immediately and unconditionally” release citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, who was sentenced to four years in prison Monday for exposing the regime’s secretive and inept response to the COVID outbreak.

“The United States strongly condemns the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) sham prosecution and conviction of citizen journalist Zhang Zhan on December 28,” Pompeo stated.

“We call on the PRC government to release her immediately and unconditionally. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has shown once again it will do whatever it takes to silence those who question the Party’s official line, even regarding crucial public health information.”

Pompeo went on to condemn China’s pattern of lying and deception, claiming that its efforts to silence citizen journalists is a “sign of weakness, not strength.”

“Lying is a feature, not a bug of authoritarian regimes. The CCP restricted and manipulated information about the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan from the start and brutally silenced other brave truth-tellers, such as Dr. Li Wenliang, Chen Qiushi, and Fang Bin,” Pompeo wrote.

“Because of the CCP’s gross malfeasance, the rest of the world relied heavily on uncensored reports from citizen journalists like Zhang to understand the true situation in Wuhan after the CCP-imposed strict media controls were enforced and a controllable outbreak turned into a deadly global pandemic. Her hasty trial, to which foreign observers were denied access, shows how fearful the CCP is of Chinese citizens who speak the truth.”

“The PRC government’s fear of transparency and its ongoing repression of fundamental freedoms are a sign of weakness, not strength, and a threat to all of us. The United States will always support the right of Chinese citizens to express themselves freely and peacefully,” he added.

The European Union has also called for Zhang’s release on Tuesday, saying her ill health by the CCP’s treatment requires outside medical care.

“According to credible sources, Ms Zhang has been subject to torture and ill-treatment during her detention and her health condition has seriously deteriorated. It is crucial that she receives adequate medical assistance,” EU foreign policy spokesman Peter Stano said in a statement.

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