The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Journalists Association are jointly calling for the immediate release from prison of mainland journalist Gao Yu so that she can receive urgently needed medical care.
We are deeply distressed by reports of her deteriorating health.
Ms Gao was convicted in April this year of leaking state secrets to the foreign media.
The FCCHK stated at the time: “The seven-year jail sentence was unwarranted and particularly harsh for an elderly woman who is already in frail health and requires medical attention.”
Ms Gao’s health has worsened steadily since her incarceration and her condition is now reportedly life-threatening. The FCCHK and the HKJA are asking the Chinese authorities to urgently and unconditionally assure that Ms Gao, 71, receives all the medical attention she needs.
We are particularly concerned at reports that the Chinese authorities would agree to release Ms Gao only if she once again publicly confesses her guilt on television, something she has refused to do.
Gao Yu was the guest speaker at the Human Rights Press Awards hosted by the FCC in 2002. She was detained in April 2014 as authorities rounded up dozens of rights activists and dissidents for questioning ahead of the 25th anniversary of the June 4, 1989, military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
She has been jailed before, including toward the end of the Tiananmen protests. She was released after 450 days, but was jailed again in November 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.
FCC Press Freedom Committee
Hong Kong Journalists Association
Thursday, July 30, 2015