Just praise the efforts on the Mainland, do not ask about what they deliver while silencing their press.
Reports from China are that Zhang Zhan has been handed a 4 year jail sentence, a result of photographs and reports she filed about the outbreak of the formerly-named Wuhan Virus. The citizen journalist, previously a lawyer, traveled to the Wuhan region at the start of the pandemic outbreak and she filed a number of posts on the effects and the governmental response. After months of her recording and sharing her findings she was picked up by authorities and brought to Shanghai.
She was accused of ‘’Picking quarrels and provoking trouble’’, a common charge used against those who oppose authorities and/or embarrass the regime. Zhang’s time in jail has been brutal, involving her going on a hunger strike and then becoming shackled and force-fed. Zhang was weakened and wheelchair bound during her closed door trial.
Her postings across many platforms ranged from pictures inside hospitals to detailing the effects on communities and the lockdown orders placed on businesses and families. China blocks most global sites such as FaceBook and Twitter from the citizens, while overseeing and controlling domestic social media platforms. Her posts on Twitter halted in May with her detention, and she has hardly been the lone example.
Here in the US our own press corps has been more than willing to follow the official word from China in its handling of the pandemic. From repeating their glowing performance claims to following suit with the demand to rename the virus, I showed last week how our media complex has been embarrassed as a result, with proof of Chinese suppression and propaganda becoming revealed.
In a strong dose of irony Zhang’s lawyer responded to the charges that his client was, ‘’Publishing large amounts of fake information’’, and attempting to “maliciously stir up the Wuhan Covid-19 epidemic situation,” according to the prosecution. Zhang was literally charged with dissemenating ”fake news”. But as her lawyer pointed out on social media, the government never provided proof disputing her reports, as they were incapable of showing her delivering false information. It is an eerie similarity to what we see taking place with the self-professed fact-checkers from out news outlets.
The control of the narrative by the Chi-Coms is more than a messaging story, it is a human rights issue. While it is said Zhang was the first citizen journalist to be prosecuted and sentenced by the state she was hardly the lone name to be silenced.
One businessman in Wuhan who recorded early details of bodies was detained. Chen Quishi was breaking information in February and just disappeared, only surfacing in control of authorities seven months later. Li Zehua was literally chased in his car and recorded the episode, hiding for hours before authorities detained him. Thousands have been arrested or detained this year in regards to information on the virus getting publicized, including a number of doctors who issued initial warnings of the severity of the virus and the danger of an outbreak. Yet our press in the US appear to be more than willing to play along with the Chi-Com messaging than to doubt their proclamations or investigate their claims.
The galling aspect is that when witnessing the treatment of those in their own profession by thee authorities our journalists are not as bothered by these actions, and a cynical approach is rarely taken in regards to the official government statements. When it is shown the Chi-Coms are controlling the messaging in the press and going so far as to create waves of false social media posts that praise the leadership this basically demands a harder look into the facts.
Instead our media complex — which loves to claim they are charged with holding the political class accountable — is content to simply repeat the party line from China. It is enough to make one question which party of which they are members.