Zhang is one of the relatively few Han Chinese within China who made vocal criticisms of the government's treatment of Uyghurs. His wife left China for the United States, providing AP with the relevant court documentation on which they based this article. "Court records say Zhang was convicted of sending 274 posts from 2010 to 2015 on Twitter and the Chinese social media service WeChat that 'resisted, attacked and smeared' the Communist Party and its policies, earning him 15 years in prison for inciting subversion of state power. He was given another five years for talking to foreign reporters and providing photos of the intense police presence in the streets of Xinjiang. That, the court said, amounted to providing intelligence about China’s anti-terror efforts to foreign organizations. The court said it would combine the two punishments and sentence him to 19 years in prison. He was convicted in January 2016."