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A car displaying a poster of jailed Chinese citizen journalist Zhang Zhan follows a caravan funeral procession in Pasadena, Los Angeles, honoring COVID-19 victims in November. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A court in Shanghai sentenced a citizen journalist to four years in prison Monday after finding her guilty of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble" by reporting on China's early coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, per rights groups.

Why it matters: Zhang Zhan's conviction marks the first known sentence of someone "who chronicled authorities' early struggle to manage the outbreak," Bloomberg notes.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • Zhang is among several independent reporters "detained or disappeared" in a crackdown by Chinese authorities keen to portray the government's pandemic response as "effective and timely," per CNN.
  • There's no free press in China.

Driving the news: The 37-year-old former lawyer came to the attention of authorities in February, after her reports were widely shared on social media, documenting how officials "didn't give people enough information" and "violated human rights," SBS reports.

  • Zhang has been detained since last May, AFP notes.

Of note: Her sentencing comes as a World Health Organization-led international mission prepares to visit China next month to investigate COVID-19's origins.

Go deeper: The early days of China's coronavirus outbreak and cover-up

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on Zhang's arrest and further context.

Go deeper

Updated 18 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull — Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies— Government website for free COVID tests launches early
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older
  5. Variant tracker
Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

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