China: Sorge um die Gesundheit von Journalistin Gao Yu

RAPID ACTION NETWORK – 3. August 2015 – Update #2 zu RAN 09/14

Der internationale PEN ist zutiefst besorgt wegen des sich verschlechternden Gesundheitszustands der Journalistin Gao Yu, die derzeit eine siebenjährige Haftstrafe wegen angeblichen “Verrats von Staatsgeheimnissen ins Ausland” absitzt, zu der sie am 17. April 2015 verurteilt wurde.

Gao Yu. Quelle: PEN International

Gao Yu. Quelle: PEN International

Gao Yu leidet Berichten zufolge seit einigen Wochen an stärker werdenden Herzschmerzen, was eine Umstellung ihrer Medikation erfordert. Laut Zeitungsberichten wurden bei Gao Yu bei einer kürzlich erfolgten medizinischen Untersuchung Anzeichen für Blockaden in den Herzkranzgefäßen gefunden sowie Auffälligkeiten in den Lymphknoten. Ihrem Anwalt soll sie gesagt haben: „Ich will hier nicht sterben“. Der PEN drängt die chinesischen Behörden dazu, sicherzustellen, dass Gao Yu in adäquater Weise medizisch versorgt wird. Der PEN protestiert weiterhin gegen ihre Verurteilung und die Haftstrafe. Wir fordern ihre sofortige und bedingungslose Freilassung.

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Bitte senden Sie Protestbriefe:

  • Verurteilen Sie den Schuldspruch und die siebenjährige Haftstrafe gegen die Journalistin Gao Yu;
  • Fordern Sie, dass Gao Yus Verurteilung aufgehoben wird und dass sie unverzüglich freigelassen wird, da sie lediglich wegen ihrer Arbeit als Journalistin inhaftiert wurde.
  • Drücken Sie Ihre ernste Sorge um Gao Yus Gesundheit aus und fordern Sie, dass sie eine adäquate medizinische Versorgung erhält.
  • Drücken Sie Ihre Besorgnis aus, dass Gao Yu zu einem Geständnis im Staatsfernsehen gedrängt wurde und dass dieses Geständnis im Verfahren als Beweismittel verwenden wurde, obwohl sie zu Protokoll gegeben hatte, dass das Geständnis erzwungen worden war. Dies steht klar im Widerspruch zu den Anforderungen an eine faire Gerichtsverhandlung.
  • Erinnern Sie die chinesischen Behörden daran, dass sie als Unterzeichner des UN-Zivilpaktes, der u.a. das Recht auf freie Meinungsäußerung und das Recht auf ein faires Gerichtsverfahren festschreibt, dazu verpflichtet sind, Handlungen, die die Ziele und Zwecke des Vertrags untergraben, zu unterlassen.

Schreiben Sie an:

S.E. den Botschafter der Volksrepublik China
Herrn Shi Mingde
Botschaft der Volksrepublik China
Märkisches Ufer 54
10179  Berlin

Hintergrund (bereitgestellt vom internationalen PEN)

According to PEN International’s information, Beijing-based veteran dissident journalist Gao Yu was convicted of ‘leaking state secrets abroad’ and sentenced to seven years in prison on 17 April 2015. During her trial, which began behind closed doors on 21 November 2014 only the prosecutors, Gao’s lawyers, the judges and court staff and a few court police were present owing to the nature of the charges laid against her. According to news reports, Gao Yu is currently awaiting the outcome of her appeal.

Recent reports also raise concerns for Gao Yu’s health. Gao Yu is reported to suffer from heart disease and high blood pressure, as well as Menière’s Disease – a condition of the inner ear. According to news reports, she was sent for a medical check due to the fact that she has been suffering from frequent heart pain. The medical examination, conducted in July, is reported to have found signs of blockages in her arteries as well as abnormal lymph nodes in her neck. It is not yet clear whether the abnormalities are benign. Her lawyers are expected to apply for bail given her current condition.

Detained on 24 April 2014, she was formally arrested on 30 May, however, her detention was not officially confirmed until 8 May. Gao, aged 70, went missing on 23 April 2014, when she last made contact with Deutsche Welle, a German newspaper for which she is a special contributor. At the time of her disappearance she was writing a column titled “Party Nature vs. Human Nature”, which is said to focus on the new leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and its internal conflicts. The article was never submitted, and when Gao did not attend as scheduled a 26 April event in Beijing to commemorate the anti-government protests on 4 June 1989 which were brutally suppressed, friends reported her disappearance. Gao had also been due to travel to Hong Kong to speak at the annual awards ceremony of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC), of which she is a member, on 3 May.

On 8 May 2014 officials confirmed that she was being held by Beijing police in a criminal investigation for allegedly ‘leaking state secrets abroad’ over a secret document leaked to editors of a foreign website in August 2013. According to Gao’s lawyer, the charges are based on a document known as „Document Number 9“, which Ms Gao had written about last year. The document is said to detail the government’s vision of pushing economic reforms while maintaining ideological controls concerning issues such as democracy, civil society and freedom of press.

The same day, Gao appeared in a televised ‘confession’ shown on China’s national broadcaster CCTV in an early morning news programme. The report blurred out her face but showed her full name, ending speculation over her whereabouts two weeks after she disappeared. Gao said ‘I admit that what I’ve done touched on legal issues and threatened national interests.’ She said she was ‘deeply remorseful’ of her actions and ‘willing to accept legal punishment’. Gao Yu later clarified that this ‘confession’ had been extracted under duress after police threatened to arrest her son. The right to a fair trial, as enshrined in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights includes the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty and not to be compelled to testify against oneself or to confess guilt.

According to her lawyer, Mo Shaoping, in the interview with Deutsche Welle, the court took into consideration Gao’s ‘confession’ during their deliberation, in contravention of Chinese law that dictates that evidence obtained under duress must be thrown out and must not be considered when passing a verdict. Furthermore, her sentence comes despite evidence submitted to court which asserted that the supposed recipient of Document 9, He Pin of Mirror Publishing, had not received the document from Gao Yu.

Gao Yu is currently awaiting the outcome of her appeal, which was expected in July, but was reportedly delayed for two months for unknown reasons. Reports suggest that the Chinese authorities asked her to dismiss her lawyers, however she refused. The authorities are also said to have been attempting to persuade Gao Yu to plead guilty on a lesser charge, which she has also refused.

Gao Yu was formerly the chief editor of Economics Weekly before being barred from publishing. She was first arrested on 3 June 1989 for an article she wrote for a Hong Kong newspaper supporting student protesters in Tiananmen Square, and was imprisoned for over a year. She spent a further five and a half years in prison from 1993-99 for ‘providing state secrets to parties outside [China’s] borders’ in a series of political and economic articles in Hong Kong-based publications. Gao is known for her fiercely critical political analysis and knowledge of the inner circles of the Chinese Communist Party.

She has continued to work in China as a freelance journalist in spite of considerable restriction and pressure. Gao Yu contributed an essay to PEN’s 2013 report “Creativity and Constraint in Today’s China.” She is an honorary director of ICPC and an honorary member of Czech PEN, Danish PEN and Swedish PEN. Her case was used as an emblematic case during PEN’s campaigning for International Women’s Day 2015 and the Day of the Imprisoned Writer 2014. Gao Yu’s case was also highlighted as PEN’s Empty Chair during the Writers in Prison Committee Conference held in Amsterdam in May 2015 during which members wrote messages of solidarity on post cards and sent them to her in prison.

As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides for freedom of legitimate expression, the right not to be arbitrarily detained and the right to a fair trial, China is obliged to ‘refrain from acts that would defeat or undermine the treaty’s objective and purpose.’