State secret leakage: China jails 71-year old journalist for seven years 


April 17, Beijing: China has sent a top journalist behind bars for seven years for leaking a confidential paper to an international website. Gao Yu, 71 had illegally sent state secrets to foreigners, a Beijing court said.

The document has not been named that caused her arrest and sentence however it is believed a Communist Party strategy paper known as “Documents No. 9” has been sent to a foreign website. The paper was regarding a plan seeking an aggressive wave of restrictions on democracy, human rights, and media.

Police patrolled the perimeter of the Beijing court where the verdict was delivered on Friday; she could not be reached for comment. Her brother, Gao Wei, who was present inside the court but was escorted away by police and was unable to talk to media. Gao Yu was named one of the International Press Institute’s 50 “World press heroes” in 2000.

Committee to Protect Journalists  reported that Gao is one of 44 journalists behind bars in China as of Dec. 1, 2014, making it the top jailer of media workers, said the, a New York-based media advocacy group.

Shang Baojun, one of Gao’s lawyers, said they were dismayed by the verdict. “We would appeal against the verdict,” said Baojun. Gao was incarcerated in April last year. State television network CCTV telecasted a video of the journalist, her faced blurred, admitting she made a blunder. She was put on trial in November. Gao’s lawyer said she made the statement after police threatened her son. The reputed journalist was jailed in 1990s and she has written for media in Hong Kong and elsewhere.

Gao’s sentencing comes amid a widespread crackdown on freedom of expression in China, reports the BBC’s Celia Hatton in Beijing.

Amnesty International called the verdict “an affront to justice”.

William Nee, China researcher at the rights group said Gao was the victim of a colloquial and arbitrary state-secret laws that are usually used against activists as part of the authorities’ assault on free speech.

(The Oslo Times)

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