Gao Yu (journalist)

Gao Yu (Chinese: 高瑜; born 23 February 1944)[1] is a Chinese journalist and dissident who has been repeatedly imprisoned.[2]

GAO yu
Gao yu VOA.jpg
Gao in August 2007
Born (1944-02-23) 23 February 1944 (age 76)
Alma materRenmin University of China
  • Journalist
  • columnist

Early lifeEdit

Gao was born in Chongqing. She attended the Language and Literature Department at the Renmin University of China, where she majored in Literary Theory.[3]


Gao began her journalism career in 1979, as a reporter for the China News Service.[2] In 1988, she became deputy chief editor of Economics Weekly, edited by dissident intellectuals.[2] She also worked as a freelance journalist for different newspapers in China and in Hong Kong. In November 1988, she published an article in Hong Kong's Mirror Monthly, which was described by Beijing's Mayor Chen Xitong as a "political program for turmoil and rebellion". He even branded her as a "people's enemy".[2] She was arrested in 1989, after the Tiananmen Square protests,[4] and released 15 months later because of health problems.[5]

Gao was arrested again in October 1993, and in November 1994 was sentenced to six years, accused of having "published state secrets".[6][7] In February 1999, she was given parole in poor health.[8][9][10]

In 2014, Gao was arrested again a few weeks ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. The detention of the outspoken 70-year-old journalist was just one of several detentions of government critics over the previous days ahead of the politically sensitive 4 June anniversary.[11]

In April 2015, Beijing's high court convicted Gao of leaking state secrets and sentenced her to seven years in prison.[12] According to Reporters Without Borders, the authorities accused Gao of sending "Document Number Nine" to a foreign news organization, although the document had already been posted online.[13] Following an appeal, her sentence was reduced to five years on 26 November 2015.[14] Hours later, Chinese state media announced she has been released on medical parole, however the conviction for leaking state secrets was not overturned.[15] As of 2016, she is serving a five-year sentence under house arrest.[16]

German president Joachim Gauck, on his first state visit to China in March 2016, raised the plight of Gao with the Chinese government.[17] Gao once wrote for the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.[17] Days after Gauck's comments on Gao, Beijing municipal authorities and police raided her home, demolishing her study which they claimed was an illegal structure, and ransacking the rest of her home.[16] Gao put up a fight but collapsed due to apparent high blood pressure.[16] Gao stated that the raid was illegal and the authorities gave no advance notice.[16] Sources claimed that the raid was conducted in retaliation for the German president's comments.[16] Gao's home has been ransacked by the police before, when they came to arrest her in 2014.[16] In April 2015, Gao was sentenced to prison for 7 years. Gao appealed and in November 2015, her sentenced length being changed to 5 years. Gao was released from prison on April 23, 2019.


While incarcerated, Gao Yu received the WAN-IFRA (World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers) Golden Pen of Freedom and the IWMF (International Women's Media Foundation) Courage in Journalism Award in 1995.[18][19] In March 1999, she became the first journalist to receive the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.[20] In 2000 she was named one of International Press Institute's 50 World Press Freedom Heroes of the 20th century.[2]


  1. ^ "Gao Yu (高瑜)". Chinese Human Rights Defenders. 2 December 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Michael Kudlak, IPI World Press Freedom Heroes: Gao Yu, IPI Report, June 2000
  3. ^ "爆機密拘高瑜". 9 May 2014.
  4. ^ "Our Issues: Press Freedom | IWMF - Part 9532". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  5. ^ "Document | Amnesty International". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  6. ^ "Chinese dissident gets medical parole". BBC. 1999-02-15. Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  7. ^ "China: "Leaking State Secrets": The Case of Gao Yu". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  8. ^ "AI, 4 February 1999, Gao Yu: People's Republic of China". Archived from the original on 4 September 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  9. ^ "EST LIBÉRÉE POUR RAISONS MÉDICALES". IFEX. 16 February 1999. Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  10. ^ "China: Update Medical Letter Writing Action: Gao Yu". Amnesty International, 5 March 1999
  11. ^ Beijing, Associated Press in (8 May 2014). "Gao Yu arrested by Chinese authorities". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  12. ^ "Chinese Journalist Sentenced to 7 Years on Charges of Leaking State Secrets". New York Times. 16 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Reporters Without Borders Reveals State Secrets In Reaction To Gao Yu’s Sentence". Reporters Without Borders, 17 April 2015
  14. ^ "Imprisoned Chinese journalist's jail time reduced". Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  15. ^ "Jailed Chinese journalist Gao Yu released on medical parole". the Guardian. 26 November 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
  16. ^ a b c d e f "Beijing police ransack dissident's home after praise by Germany". Hong Kong Economic Journal. 1 April 2016.
  17. ^ a b Tatlow, Didi Kirsten (24 March 2016). "German President Presses China on Political Prisoners During Visit". The New York Times.
  18. ^ "Press Freedom Resolution: Calling for the Release of Golden Pen Laureates and All Jailed Journalists - WAN-IFRA". Retrieved 2015-11-27.
  19. ^ "Courage in Journalism Awards: Awardees 1990-2015 | IWMF". Retrieved 2015-11-27.
  20. ^ "1997 - Gao Yu, China: UNESCO-CI". Retrieved 2015-11-26.

External linksEdit