China jailed one of the country’s prominent journalists on Friday on allegations of revealing state secrets.
Veteran journalist Gao Yu, who was also sentenced to seven years behind bars was detained last year on allegations that she disclosed a highly confidential document to an overseas Chinese-language news organization.
The document revealed the Party’s ideological battle plan to counter advocates of constitutional democracy, banning public discussions on topics ranging from press freedom, civil rights to judicial independence.
The document, labeled “Document No. 9” was issued by the ruling Communist Party leadership.
Gao’s lawyer Mo Shaoping however said that the conviction was based on a forced confession that she had since retracted.
The outspoken Gao, 71, told her interrogators in a video that she regretted that her behavior had harmed national interests and violated the law.
Mo, her lawyer, said the authorities had extracted the confession by threatening her son’s safety and released the police video to CCTV without her knowledge.
Gao began her career as a reporter for the state-run China News Service in 1979 and, in recent years, had been writing columns for overseas Chinese-language publications.
She was arrested after the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and released not less than a year later.
Gao was again imprisoned for another six years for leaking state secrets in 1993 though the government has never disclosed details of that case.
China’s President Xi Jinping’s governance has jailed hundreds of activists across China despite rising international concern.