China court releases journalist from prison over declining health News
China court releases journalist from prison over declining health

Beijing’s Third Intermediate People’s Court on Friday released journalist Gao Yu on medical parole after the Higher People’s Court upheld her conviction for leaking an internal Communist Party document to a foreign website. Though she did receive medical parole [Asia Times report] as a result of her health, the courts have refused to overturn her conviction which means she may still serve her sentence outside of prison. The Higher People’s Court upheld [Xinhuanet report, in Chinese] the conviction on Thursday, also reducing her sentence from seven years [JURIST report] to five. The trial of the seventy one year old freelance journalist prompted concerns from the international community who viewed the prosecution as part of a continued crackdown on journalism and free speech rights. Gao admitted to leaking the document at issue during a closed hearing, though the Mingjing News contends that it did not receive the document from her. Yu, who has been detained since 2014, received her initial sentence in April at which time she had plead not guilty.

Journalism is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world [JURIST report], with more than 1,000 journalists killed since 1992 and more than 200 journalists imprisoned [CPJ factsheets]. Earlier this month Egyptian officials released human rights activist and journalist Hossam Bahgat after he signed a statement [JURIST report] promising to abide by legal procedures when reporting on matters concerning the Armed Forces. Also this month UN rights experts called on authorities in Iran [JURIST report] to cease arresting, prosecuting and harassing journalists and online activists and to provide a safe space for freedom of expression. In September the Israeli Parliament passed a new law that bans journalists from expressing their opinions [JURIST report] on the county’s public broadcasting network. In August Germany’s acting top federal prosecutor dropped a much-criticized treason investigation [JURIST report] into two prominent journalists working for Netzpolitik.org.

Opinions expressed in JURIST Commentary are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JURIST's editors, staff, donors or the University of Pittsburgh.