The FCC has called for the immediate release from prison of mainland journalist Gao Yu so that she can receive urgent medical care. We are deeply distressed by reports of her deteriorating health, the FCC statement said.
Gao was convicted in April this year of leaking state secrets to the foreign media. The FCC at the time issued a statement to express its grave concern to the Chinese authorities at the conviction of the 71-year-old Gao whose seven-year jail sentence is unwarranted and particularly harsh for an elderly woman who is already in frail health.
Gao’s health had worsened steadily since her incarceration and her condition is now reportedly life-threatening. The FCC urges the authorities to urgently and unconditionally assure that Gao receives medical attention.
The FCC is particularly concerned at reports that the authorities would agree to release Gao only if she once again publicly confesses her guilt on TV, something she has refused to do.
Gao, who was a guest speaker at the Human Rights Press Awards hosted by the FCC in 2002, was arrested last April as authorities rounded up dozens of rights activists and dissidents for questioning ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown on June 4, 1989.
She has been jailed before: toward the end of the Tiananmen protests in 1989 and again in 1994 for illegally providing state secrets to institutions outside China’s borders in connection with four articles she wrote in the Hong Kong-based magazine Mirror Monthly
Photo by Mike Clarke/AFP