Chinese citizen journalist jailed for Wuhan reporting

A Chinese citizen journalist who covered the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan has been jailed for four years.

Thirty-seven-year-old Zhang Zhan was found guilty on Monday of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble", her lawyer said.

Zhang's first hand accounts of crowded hospitals, empty streets and interviews with residents, painted a more dire picture of the situation in Wuhan than the official narrative.

But her channel on YouTube - also got her in the crosshairs of Chinese authorities.

She was detained in mid-May and went on hunger strike in June, court documents reveal.

Her lawyers told the court police strapped her arms down and force-fed her through a tube.

By December, she was suffering headaches, giddiness, stomach ache, low blood pressure and a throat infection.

Requests for bail before Monday's trial were denied.

There was tight security outside the court in Shanghai, but one man turned up to show support before he was escorted way.

"I came here to try and see her. I went there just now, but the staff told me it's not allowed, especially not in a criminal case."

Zhang is one of several citizen journalists who have run into trouble for reporting on Wuhan.

China has come under fire for its early handling of the pandemic, with Beijng accused of failing to warn the world about how bad the situaton was.

Since the first cases of covid were detected in Wuhan last December, the disease has spread worldwide, infecting more than 80 million people and killing over 1.76 million.