A mainland Chinese journalist arrested for helping a German magazine report on Hong Kong’s Occupy Central movement has walked free uncharged after over nine months in detention.

Zhang miao
Photo: Die Zeit website

Zhang Miao, former assistant to Die Zeit’s Beijing correspondent Angela Köckritz, was released Thursday night after prosecutors were unable to find enough evidence to charge her with “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” The criminal offence is often used to prosecute dissidents in China.


Zhang, 40, was arrested on October 2 last year after returning to Beijing from Hong Kong, where she helped Köckritz report on Occupy, also known as the Umbrella Movement. Zhang was posting pictures from the pro-democracy protests on Wechat, a popular Chinese social media platform. Zhang posted the pictures despite Köckritz warning her not to, according to a public letter by the German journalist on Die Zeit’s website.

Last month, authorities had Zhang write a “letter of repentance”, in which she had to say she “realised China’s human rights are five times better than the US after staying in a Chinese detention centre,” according to a report by Deutsche Welle citing Zhang’s lawyer Zhou Shifeng.

The report said Zhang’s health and mental state are in good condition.

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.