Wednesday, May 6, 2015CJFE strongly condemns the April 17 sentencing of 71-year-old Chinese journalist Gao Yu to seven years in prison for allegedly leaking state secrets to overseas media. Gao was arrested last year and accused of sending an internal Communist Party memo, Document No. 9, to US-based Chinese news outlet Mirror Media Group in 2013. The document warned party members against the incursion of “Western ideals,” including independent media and human rights, into Chinese culture. Ho Pin, founder of Mirror Media Group, has since revealed that the document was leaked to him by an individual who identified as an officer in the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department. Given that the document had already circulated widely on the Internet months before Mirror Media published it, the case against Gao Yu appears politically motivated and designed to penalize the journalist for her long history of critiquing the Chinese government. Gao is a veteran independent journalist well-known for repeatedly challenging the Communist Party of China. She was jailed for more than a year after the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and again for six years in 1993 under charges of leaking state secrets. Despite Mirror Media Group’s denial that Gao leaked Document No. 9, the journalist was convicted based on a televised confession that was coerced by threatening to harm her son. She later retracted the confession on the grounds that it was extracted under duress. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) recently placed China on its list of the world's 10 most censored countries for the first time since the organization began compiling the list, indicative of the Chinese government’s intensifying crackdown on dissent. CPJ also named China as the world’s worst jailer of the press. CJFE calls on Chinese authorities to immediately reverse the politically motivated conviction of Gao Yu and to revoke her sentence. We also urge the Chinese government to cease its crackdown on free expression and to release all other prisoners of conscience unjustly detained in the country.
This letter of concern was sent to His Excellency Luo Zhaohui, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Canada. Cc: Mr. Guy Saint-Jacques, Ambassador of Canada to the People’s Republic of China The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs