The FCC has issued a statement to express its grave concern to the Chinese authorities at the conviction of 71-year-old journalist Gao Yu on the charge of leaking state secrets to foreign media. The seven-year jail sentence is unwarranted and particularly harsh for an elderly woman who is already in frail health
Gao, a freelance journalist who has written about political, economic and social issues for domestic and overseas media, appears to have been punished for simply doing her job. We remind the authorities that freedom of expression and reporting are enshrined in the Chinese constitution.
The treatment of Gao, who has already been detained for almost a year, is the latest indication of a worsening environment for reporters working in the country. She is one of 44 journalists who were behind bars in China as of December 1, 2014.
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.
Photo credit: MIKE CLARKE/AFP