In China 71-year old top journalist jailed for leaking state secrets to foreign media

A court in Beijing said 71-year old Gao Yu who has written for media in Hong Kong and elsewhere, had "illegally provided state secrets to foreigners".

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A top Chinese journalist has been jailed for 7 years for leaking a confidential paper to a foreign website, BBC reports.

A court in Beijing said 71-year old Gao Yu who has written for media in Hong Kong and elsewhere, had "illegally provided state secrets to foreigners".

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" which is said to call for aggressive restrictions on democracy, civil society and the press.

International human rights group, Amnesty International called the sentence "an affront to justice" saying 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"

One of her lawyers, Shang Baojun,  said they were "very disappointed" with the verdict and would appeal.

The 71-year old was detained in April 2014 and weeks later, state television network CCTV aired a video of her face blurred, admitting she made a "big mistake".

But her lawyers said she made the statement after police threatened her son.

This won't be the first time Gao, whom the BBC has described as a rarity in China for her outspokenness, will be jailed in the line of duty as she had previously been imprisoned in the 1990s.

Gao, who appeared to have access to relatively high-level information about the Chinese government and the ruling Communist Party, often filed Chinese language stories to overseas media outlets that were eager to publish her insights.

Her sentencing comes amidst a widespread crackdown on freedom of speech in China, while media advocacy group Committee to Protect Journalists, says she is one of 44 Chinese journalists behind bars.

 

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