Chinese journalist Gao Yu was detained on criminal charges of leaking state secrets, weeks before the 25th anniversary of the 1989 military crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square, state media said.
Gao Yu, 70, was detained on April 24, the official Xinhua News Agency said today, citing the Beijing police. Gao, who was an active participant in the 1989 protests, provided a document from the Central Committee of the Communist Party to an unidentified overseas website, it said.
Chinese authorities are tightening control before the sensitive anniversary, with Beijing police taking human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang away from his home on the evening of May 4 after he attended a seminar on the events at Tiananmen, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch. The ruling Communist Party doesn’t allow discussion of what happened during the protests across the country or how many people died when the army crushed demonstrations in central Beijing.
Gao Yu appeared on China’s Central Television to confess her crimes, according to a copy of the video posted online. She expressed “deep regret” and will accept punishment, Xinhua said. Gao was sentenced to six years in jail in 1993 on similar charges.
Gao obtained the document in 2013 and made an electronic copy to share through the Internet with overseas websites, Xinhua said. In August 2013, a foreign website published the entire Central Committee document, which was further shared online “causing wide attention from society,” Xinhua said.
Pu, who was also involved in the 1989 protests, has been criminally detained on charges of creating a disturbance, Human Rights Watch said. Four others who attended the seminar have also been detained on the same charges, it said.
The U.S. is deeply concerned about the detentions, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said yesterday.
“We call on Chinese authorities to release these individuals immediately, remove restrictions on their freedom of movement and guarantee them the protections and the freedoms to which they are entitled under China’s international human rights commitments,” she said.
To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Henry Sanderson in Beijing at firstname.lastname@example.org