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China gives 4-year jail term to journalist for reporting on Wuhan virus

A Chinese citizen journalist who reported on the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has been jailed for four years, according to a BBC report.

Zhang Zhan was found guilty of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble", a frequent charge levelled by the Chinese government against activists.

There is no free media in China and authorities are known to clamp down on activists or whistleblowers seen as undermining the government's response to the outbreak.

The 37-year-old Zhang was detained in May, and has been on hunger strike for several months. Her lawyers say she is in poor health.

Zhang is one of several citizen journalists who have run into trouble for reporting on Wuhan. She arrived at a Shanghai court with her lawyers on Monday morning.

According to the indictment, she had travelled to Wuhan in February to independently report on the outbreak there.

Her livestreaming and reports were widely shared on social media in February, bringing her to the attention of the Chinese authorities.

The Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) NGO said her reports included coverage of the detention of other independent journalists and the harassment of families of victims who were seeking accountability..