BEIJING (TIP): China has detained a 70-year old former editor who has won international awards for journalism on charges of leaking state secrets. The journalist, Gao Yu, was “criminally detained on suspicion of providing state secrets to sources outside China”, the Beijing public security department said.
State run China Central Television ran a video on Thursday showing Gao in orange prison smocks with her face blurred admitting to “seriously harming the national interest”. It also showed her being escorted down a hallway and interrogated by two uniformed police officers.
Gao is a former deputy editor-in-chief of the magazine Economics Weekly and is an outspoken journalist who was named as one of the 50 “world press freedom heroes” in 2000 by the International Press Institute. She was sentenced to six years in prison on a similar “state secrets” charge in 1993. In a delayed report, Xinhua news agency said Gao was detained on April 24 on suspicion of having sent a copy of a “highly confidential” document to an overseas website last June.
It did not mention what the document was about. The detention comes ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. “I believe what I have done has touched on legal issues and has endangered the country’s interests,” said Gao in the television confession. “What I have done was a big mistake. I earnestly and sincerely have learned a lesson from this experience and admit my guilt,” she said in the video with her face obscured.
Police seized “substantial evidence” from her home and Gao has “expressed deep remorse about what she did”, Xinhua said, adding that she was “willing to accept punishment from the law”. In another case, a court in the southern city of Shenzhen this week sentenced Hong Kong-based publisher Yu Man-tin to 10 years in jail on charges of smuggling.