Veteran journalist Gao Yu has been detained by police over charges of leaking “state secrets” to foreign contacts in Beijing, Xinhua said today.
Gao, 70, leaked a secret document to an overseas website in August last year, SCMP relays. She admitted to being “deeply remorseful” for her actions and was “willing to accept legal punishment”.
The Xinhua report did not specify which secret document she allegedly shared, but the timing would coincide with the release of the full text of a confidential Communist Party circular that called on authorities to crack down on political dissent in August last year.
Gao has previously written on the so-called Document No 9, titled “Concerning the Situation in the Ideological Sphere” for the Chinese language-website of Deutsche Welle, a German state-owned broadcaster, in May last year, shortly after the document’s release for internal circulation by the Communist Party’s General Office.
She obtained the full document in June last year, Xinhua said. Document No. 9 sparked a nationwide series of arrests of rights activists and journalists.
Notably, Xu Zhiyong, founder of the New Citizens Movement, was detained last year and recently sentenced to four years in prison for “gathering crowds to disrupt public order”.
Gao was previously jailed for her support of the Tiananmen democracy movement in 1989. She was re-arrested in 1993 and served six years in prison for leaking state secrets, after which, she’s been working as a freelance writer and political commenter.
Speculation over Gao’s whereabouts began last week after she was a no-show at a private meeting on April 24 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown. Xinhua reported that she was detained that day.
Human rights observers believe that authorities are attempting to put activists “out of action” before June 4, the 25th anniversary of the violent crackdowns by Chinese troops in Tiananmen Square.
[Image via QuitCCP.org]