Sat, Apr 18, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Journalist Gao Yu given seven-year sentence in Beijing

NY Times News Service

A man outside Hong Kong’s China Liaison Office yesterday holds up a sign calling on Chinese authorities to release Chinese journalist Gao Yu.

Photo: EPA

Gao Yu (高瑜), a 71-year-old Chinese journalist who has repeatedly challenged the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during a decades-long career, was sentenced to seven years in prison yesterday after a court in Beijing found her guilty of leaking state secrets abroad.

Gao said she would appeal, according to her lawyer and her brother, who were in the courtroom.

The Third Intermediate People’s Court announced the verdict nearly five months after Gao stood trial there, a delay that one of her defense lawyers, Mo Shaoping (莫少平), had said was unusual and suggested some indecision about how to handle the case.

“This outcome was expected, but we still feel it was wrong not to listen to the defense lawyers’ arguments,” Gao’s younger brother, Gao Wei (高衛), said by telephone after emerging from the court in north Beijing. “I signaled to her and told her to stay well. She said: ‘Don’t worry. I’m going to appeal.’”

Mo confirmed the seven-year prison sentence in a telephone interview.

“She said when she was being led out of the courtroom that she’d definitely appeal,” Mo said.

Gao Yu’s lawyers and supporters have maintained that the charge of leaking state secrets abroad was absurd, even given the Chinese government’s broad definition of “state secrets.”

Mo said that Gao Yu was convicted of disclosing a CCP directive that had already been widely summarized on government Web sites. The directive laid out the party’s plans for an offensive against liberal political ideas and values.

According to Mo, the verdict said that, in July 2013, Gao Yu gave the document to the Mirror Media Group, a Chinese news outlet based in the US. The company, which published the directive, has denied receiving it from her.

“There’s absolutely no basis for the case,” Mirror Media Group chief executive Ho Pin said by telephone from New York after the verdict was announced.

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