New York, April 17, 2015–A Beijing court today convicted Chinese journalist Gao Yu of leaking state secrets and handed her a seven-year sentence, according to news reports. Gao, a freelance journalist, has written about Chinese politics, the economy, and social trends for Chinese media in Hong Kong and overseas. She was arrested in April 2014, a few months before the 25th anniversary of the crackdown on demonstrators in Tiananmen Square.
“The sentencing of veteran Chinese journalist Gao Yu to seven years in prison is yet another clear indicator that the government of President Xi Jinping is incapable of tolerating any deviation from the party line,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Under Xi, not only will criticism of any sort be prohibited, but it will be harshly punished. Gao Yu is the latest journalist to fall victim to the party’s dictate.”
In its most recent prison census of imprisoned journalists, CPJ identified 44 journalists behind bars in China on December 1, an increase from 32 in 2013. The jump reflects the pressure that President Xi Jinping has exerted on media, lawyers, dissidents, and academics to toe the government line, CPJ research shows.