The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demands immediate action to provide medical treatment to veteran journalist, Gao Yu, following revelations her health in deteriorating in prison. The IFJ has called on Chinese President, Xi Jinping, to grant Gao Yu medical parole.
Recently, the IFJ received information from Gao Yu’s family that the 71-year-old journalist, who was sentenced to seven years in prison in April this year for ‘revealing a state secret’, was suffering from various illnesses and was not receiving adequate medical treatment. According to the family, Gao, who has long-suffered from heart disease, high blood pressure and Meniere’s disease, also recently discovered an abnormality to her lymph node, as well as been diagnosed with dermatosis and suffering from head and tooth aches. As her health deteriorates, Gao’s family alleges that police and authorities have refused further medical treatment and are not giving her any pain relief. Gao’s legal team have applied for medical parole twice, both times been denied.
In addition to her deteriorating health, the IFJ has been told that local police have been coercing family members to persuade Gao to make a confession, withdraw her appeal and change her legal team. Such actions clearly violate the current Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China, as well as violating the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment.
The IFJ has written to President Xi Jinping today, as he prepares to make his first official visit to the United Nations. The letter, which calls on President Xi to, as a bare minimum, grant Gao Yu medical parole, highlights the impact that Gao Yu’s case and treatment has on the representation of the country’s media and judicial system to the global community.
In April, following Gao Yu’s sentencing, the IFJ and its affiliates issued a letter to President Xi Jinping condemning the sentencing and demanding her immediate release. Gao was arrested in April 2014 for ‘revealing a state secret’. In November 2014, she faced a closed-door trial, which included a forced confession, which was later televised. On April 17, 2015, Gao was sentenced to seven years in prison – the third time the journalist has been jailed for her work.
The IFJ said: “We condemn the treatment of Gao Yu and demand immediate medical treatment for the veteran journalist. The treatment of Gao Yu since her arrest 18 months has been deplorable. Press freedom in China has been on a steady decline over recent years and Gao’s arrest and subsequent sentencing is an attack on press freedom and the public’s right to know. The Chinese government is intent on controlling the media and civil society and is clearly trying to send a message to the media and independent journalists that if they don’t toe the party line they will suffer the consequences – regardless of the constitutional commitments to freedom of expression. ”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific