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China journalist jailed for "leaking state secrets"

The sentence is sending a chilling message
Chinese journalist Gao Yu convicted of leaking government secrets 01:42

Human rights groups are protesting the lengthy sentence for a journalist in China. Gao Yu faces seven years in prison for "leaking state secrets." The sentence sends a chilling message amid a clampdown on press freedom.

The 71-year-old journalist is known for her reporting on the Communist Party elite and was convicted for publicizing the so-called "document number nine." The document was allegedly a government edict to restrict democracy, civil society and press freedoms, reports CBS News correspondent Seth Doane.

The last time Gao was seen was in a confession broadcast on state TV.

"I will admit my wrongdoings," she said.

Her lawyer claims the confession was forced.

Du Yanlin, a friend of Gao's, asked Friday, "How can exposing negative news be called 'revealing secrets'?" Gao was detained almost a year ago. Her lawyer tells CBS News she will appeal.

Chinese journalists say this crackdown is very real, and it has a quieting effect. People are scared to write about anything that contradicts the party line, and Gao's sentencing is likely a high-profile warning.

This incident is indicative of a wider trend in the country, as the Communist Party clamps down on dissent. Two years into Xi Jinping's presidency, detentions have nearly quadrupled.

China cracks down on dissent, detains "Beijing Five" 02:15

On Monday, Chinese officials released the "Beijing Five," five women's rights campaigners who were detained for more than a month.

Wang Man, Zheng Churan, Wu Rongrong, Wei Tingting and Li Tingting were accused of creating a disturbance for preparing to distribute posters and stickers against domestic violence for International Women's Day.

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