China reduces sentence of journalist to 5 years from 7

Beijing: An imprisoned 71-year-old Chinese journalist has had her sentence reduced to five years from seven following an appeal, her lawyer said today.

Gao Yu appealed her April conviction for leaking state secrets at a closed hearing on Tuesday at Beijing’s high court. Her lawyer Shang Baojun said the court announced today that her sentence would be reduced.

Gao was convicted of sharing with an overseas news magazine a document detailing the Communist Party leadership’s resolve to aggressively target constitutionality, press freedoms and groups that seek to change society but operate outside the party.

The magazine, Mingjing News, has said Gao did not provide the document, and her lawyers said they presented evidence that Gao was not the source of the report at the appeal.

Foreign governments and human rights groups have denounced the verdict again Gao as politically driven and urged authorities to release the elderly journalist, who is in poor health with heart problems.

The journalist’s brother, Gao Wei, said after the appeal verdict that he wished the court had overturned the conviction and set her free.