Journalist Gao Yu, who was detained by police in April on charges of leaking “state secrets” to foreign contacts, made what appeared to be a televised confession on CCTV saying that she was “willing to accept legal punishment” for her actions.
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The translation of the report along with her confession (1:10) is as follows:
In August, 2013, an overseas website published a top-secret document in full text which was reposted by many publications. Beijing Police wasted no time in gathering a special group to carry out investigation on the case. Sufficient evidence showed that 70-year-old Gao Yu was the suspect. Reporters confirmed with the Beijing Police Station that suspect Gao Yu was detained on April 24 for illegally providing national secrets overseas, according to a Xinhua news report.
Gao Yu soon admitted that in June 2013, she obtained a paper copy of the document from someone else, and then typed everything and saved it as an electronic copy. Finally, she sent it to a person in charge of an overseas website.
You can see Gao has pleaded guilty from the footage. She said, “What I did is against the nation’s interest. I feel very sorry for breaking the laws. I am deeply and sincerely remorseful for my crime and I am willing to accept legal punishment.”
The Xinhua report referenced above did not specify details about the secret document that was allegedly shared, but as SCMP pointed out, the timing coincides with the release of the full text of a confidential Communist Party circular from last August calling on authorities to crack down on political dissent.
Gao was previously imprisoned for her support of the Tiananmen democracy movement in 1989 and was re-arrested in 1993 for leaking state secrets. She spent six years in prison and has been working as a writer and political commenter since her release.
Speculation over the journalist’s whereabouts began around a week ago when she failed to appear at a private meeting on April 24 commemorating the 25th anniversary of the violent Tiananmen crackdown. Xinhua said she was arrested that day.
Maya Wang, a Hong Kong-based researcher with Human Rights Watch, told the Post that the arrest was likely linked to the upcoming June 4 anniversary.
“The authorities appear to want to, at the very least, put these people out of action before June 4, and secondly be heavy-handed to deter other activists from planning any commemoration events,” she said.
Commenting on the confession, her friend and human rights lawyer Teng Biao told the Committee to Protect Journalists that “she must have faced very severe pressure during detention”.
By Katie Nelson and Lucy Liu