Showing its true colors again this week, the Chinese Communist Party sentenced its first citizen journalist to hard time — for reporting the truth about the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.

Zhang Zhan, a former lawyer who traveled to Wuhan in February, was sentenced to four years in prison after being found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” with her reporting.

It’s a patently ridiculous and vague — but typical — charge used by the Communist Party to silence critics.

Zhang was merely reporting what she saw, sharing videos of crowded hospitals and people worrying about their incomes. But she was also critical of the government, which is a invitation for trouble.

“The government’s way of managing this city has just been intimidation and threats,” Zhang reported. “This is truly the tragedy of this country.”

Chen Jiangang, a Chinese human-rights lawyer who fled to America last year, said Zhang’s sentence is proof the CCP believes that to hold onto power, it must cling to its false coronavirus narrative.

“Any time the Chinese Communist Party thinks of a case as political, what they use is suppression. Extremely cruel suppression,” he said. “What was Zhang Zhan’s crime? She just went to Wuhan, saw some things, talked about them. That’s it.”

Zhang, who has been in custody since May, is on a hunger strike, and her health is declining. Her defiance might end up costing Zhang her life.

Meanwhile, China has also put 12 fugitives on trial for attempting to flee the mainland, prompting outrage from the US embassy there, which demanded their immediate release: “Communist China will stop at nothing to prevent its people from seeking freedom elsewhere,” an embassy statement said.

Let’s just hope Joe Biden is taking note.

This post first appeared on Nypost.com

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