China jails journalist Gao Yu over ‘state secrets’

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HONG KONG-CHINA-MEDIAGao Yu, seen here in a file image taken in Hong Kong on 5 February 2007

Authorities say Gao Yu leaked a sensitive document that was then widely reposted abroad

China has jailed a top journalist for seven years for leaking a confidential paper to a foreign website.

Gao Yu, 71, had “illegally provided state secrets to foreigners”, the court in Beijing said.
China has not confirmed which document the case relates to, but it is thought to be a Communist Party strategy paper known as “Document No 9”.

This is said to advocate economic reform while restricting democracy, civil society and freedom of the press.

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

Gao was “the victim of vaguely worded and arbitrary state-secret laws that are used against activists as part of the authorities’ attack on freedom of expression”, said William Nee, China researcher at the rights group.

Shang Baojun, one of her lawyers, said they were “very disappointed” with the verdict and would appeal.

Gao was detained in April 2014. Weeks later, state television network CCTV aired a video of Gao, her face blurred, admitting she made a “big mistake”.

Gao’s lawyers said she made the statement after police threatened her son. She was then put on trial in November.

The highly-respected journalist, who has written for media in Hong Kong and elsewhere, has already been imprisoned in the 1990s.

She was convicted of sending party documents, including a speech by then-President Jiang Zemin, to a Hong Kong newspaper.


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