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Chinese Journalist Sentenced to 7 Years for Leaking Document

Pictures of jailed veteran Chinese journalist Gao Yu are displayed by protesters outside Chinese central government's liaison office in Hong Kong Friday, April 17, 2015.

A Chinese court has sentenced a journalist to seven years in prison for leaking an internal Communist Party document to a foreign website, her lawyer said on Friday.

Gao Yu, 71, who was tried behind closed doors in Beijing last November, was convicted of providing state secrets to foreign contacts. She has denied the charges.

The document warned against the spread of Western democracy, universal values, civil rights and press freedom, which the party considers threats to its rule.

Gao's lawyers indicated they will appeal the sentence.

Gao has been jailed by Chinese authorities before. Starting in 1989, the former deputy editor of the progressive Economics Weekly, a magazine run by dissidents that was closed by authorities in the wake of the Tiananmen demonstrations, spent 14 months in detention for writing articles in support of the student-led movement. In 1994 she was sentenced to six years in prison for leaking state secrets to Hong Kong media.

Amnesty International condemned the latest case against Gao.

"This deplorable sentence against Gao Yu is nothing more than blatant political persecution by the Chinese authorities. She is 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, Amnesty's China researcher.

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