A Chinese citizen journalist who has been in prison for four years after reporting on the early days of the Covid-19 epidemic in Wuhan is due to be released on Monday.

Zhang Zhan, a former lawyer, travelled to Wuhan in February 2020 to document the Chinese government’s response to what became the start of a global pandemic. She shared her reports on X (then known as Twitter), YouTube and WeChat. She was one of the few independent Chinese reporters on the ground as Wuhan and the rest of China went into lockdown.

In one video, recorded in February 2020, Zhang said: “I can’t find anything to say except that the city is paralysed because everything is under cover. That’s what this country is facing now … They imprison us in the name of pandemic prevention and restrict our freedom.