Gao 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”.
The paper is said to call for aggressive restrictions on democracy, civil society and 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.
Analysis: Celia Hatton, BBC News, Beijing
Gao is a rarity in China – an outspoken reporter who chose to work outside the mainstream state media outlets. She filed Chinese language stories to overseas media outlets that were eager to publish her insights.
She was also unusual because she appeared to have access to relatively high-level information about the Chinese government and the ruling Communist Party. Though that does not mean, her lawyers insist, that she is guilty of leaking state secrets.
Somewhat ironically, the internal Communist Party memo Gao is said to have leaked warns of the dangers posed by “Western-style” media outlets.
“Some people, under the pretext of espousing ‘freedom of the press’ promote the West’s idea of journalism,” the document reads.
“The ultimate goal of advocating the West’s view of the media is to hawk the principle of abstract and absolute freedom of press, oppose the Party’s leadership in the media, and gouge an opening through which to infiltrate our ideology.”