Veteran Chinese journalist Gao Yu was sentenced to seven years in jail on Friday on charges of leaking a Communist Party document detailing the leadership’s resolve to clamp down on civil society and press freedom, which it considers a threat to its monopoly on power.
The ruling by a Beijing court appears to confirm the authenticity of the leaked document, which had been reported since June 2013 but was never discussed openly by the top leadership, the Associated Press reported.
Yu, 71, has denied the charges.
Gao’s lawyer Mo Shaoping said Gao was convicted of leaking state secrets by giving the strategy paper, known as Document No. 9, to an overseas media group.
The document called for aggressive curbs on the spread of Western democracy, universal values, civil society and press freedom, which the party considers a threat to its rule, AP said.
Another of Gao’s lawyers, Shang Baojun, said Gao did not speak during the verdict and sentencing, but told her brother, Gao Wei, that she could not accept the result. “We will definitely appeal,” Shang said.
Police patrolled the perimeter of Beijing’s No. 3 Intermediate Court where the verdict was delivered. Journalists and foreign diplomats gathered at the court but were denied entry to the hearing.
“We’re obviously disappointed with the verdict,” US Embassy First Secretary Dan Biers was quoted as saying.
Gao wrote about politics, economics and social issues for media in Hong Kong and overseas.
She was handed a six-year jail sentence back in 1993 also for leaking state secrets, according to a China Central Television report last year.
Human rights group Amnesty International said Gao was the victim of a vaguely worded and arbitrary state secrets law that is often used to quell dissent and freedom of expression.
“This deplorable sentence against Gao Yu is nothing more than blatant political persecution by the Chinese authorities,” William Nee, the group’s China researcher, said in a statement.
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