Guardian UK Reports … Chinese journalist facing life sentence for leaking to magazine Trial of Gao Yu, 70, will be held in secret

Sadly more of the same . The Guardian has the story

Chinese journalist facing life sentence for leaking to magazine
Trial of Gao Yu, 70, will be held in secret

Gao Yu is facing a third prison sentence in China
A 70-year-old Chinese journalist, Gao Yu, will go on trial tomorrow (21 November) on a charge of a leaking an internal communist party document that called for tighter censorship of liberal ideas.

She was arrested in April this year for obtaining the document and passing it to a foreign-based website, the US-based Chinese-language magazine Ming Jing.

Document Number 9, as it is known, was issued by the party’s central committee to warn members against “seven perils”, one of which is a free press. Under Chinese law, internal party documents are deemed state secrets.

Gao initially confessed to the charge but later told her lawyers that her confession, which was aired on state TV in May, was extracted under duress by the police.

During her first two months in detention, Gao was repeatedly denied access to legal counsel. The publisher of Ming Jing has denied that its information about the document had come from Gao.

Ho Pin said his monthly magazine obtained the document through other channels and that its contents were widely available before it published its article about it.

The charge of “illegally providing state secrets to [institutions] outside [China’s] borders” carries a life imprisonment penalty for serious cases, reports Human Rights Watch (HRW).

It says that China’s state secrets laws and regulations curtail the rights of defendants. Contact between lawyer and client is subject to the approval of the investigating authorities. Gao’s family have been told her trial will be closed to them and to the public.

If convicted, this would be Gao’s third time in prison. She worked for the state press in 1989 and was jailed for a year for taking part in the pro-democracy protests.

On the second occasion, in 1994, Gao was sentenced to six years for “leaking” policy decisions taken by senior communist party officials, which had previously been reported in the Hong Kong press.

“Gao Yu’s case is a frontal assault on the freedom of expression and access to information,” said Sophie Richardson, HRW’s China director.

“State secrets laws have been a perfect weapon for prosecuting activists and whistleblowers like Gao Yu. Internal communist party ideological directives mandating further restrictions on free expression cannot be legitimately protected by state secrecy laws.”

She called on the Chinese authorities to drop the charges against Gao Yu.