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China Releases 71-Year-Old Journalist from Prison

  • VOA News

FILE - Pictures of jailed veteran Chinese journalist Gao Yu are displayed by protesters outside Chinese central government's liaison office in Hong Kong.

FILE - Pictures of jailed veteran Chinese journalist Gao Yu are displayed by protesters outside Chinese central government's liaison office in Hong Kong.

Chinese authorities have released on medical leave a 71-year-old journalist imprisoned on charges of leaking state secrets.

State media reported the development Thursday, just hours after a court reduced the sentence for Gao Yu from seven years to five.

After that ruling, her lawyers announced they were seeking medical leave for their client, who suffers from heart trouble.

Gao had been jailed for six years following the government crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, also charged with "leaking state secrets."

She was jailed again earlier this year, convicted of leaking a government document known as Document No. 9 to the media. Her lawyers say they have shown the court evidence that she did not leak the document, and foreign governments and rights groups have denounced her detention as politically motivated.

The United States had included Gao Yu in a social media campaign called "Free the 20" - highlighting the cases of 20 female political prisoners from 13 countries.

Before her trial in April, Gao appeared on state television and issued a confession, but later told the trial court that it had been coerced.

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