China steps up pressure on journalists

China cracks down on journalists 02:30

BEIJING -- A 71 year old Chinese journalist named Ga Yu is now looking at seven years in prison after being found guilty of "revealing state secrets."

She denied accusations that she published a document detailing the Communist Party's plans to crackdown on human rights.

Chinese journalist Gao Yu convicted of leakin... 01:42

Zhang Jialong told CBS News journalists in China can obtain information the government does not want published and put it online for people to see.

The 26-year old journalist was fired from his job at a financial news website for "leaking secrets... and sensitive information,"

"You're constantly in fear of having your work removed or getting punished," Zhang said. "In the long run, you start to censor yourself."

Instead, Zhang decided to expose Chinese censors by publishing gag orders issued to journalists.

"Please exhaust all efforts deleting... New York Times' smearing articles about (former Premier) Wen Jiabao" and his family's assets, one order read.

Another dictated: "Bloomberg published a quite despicable article attacking (then) Vice President Xi (Jinping). All websites are forbidden to post this article."

Report: Censorship has grown in China, but so... 01:34

"You can only say what the government wants you to say," Zhang told CBS News.

Foreign journalists are not given censorship orders. But the Chinese government threatens to withhold visas as a way to control overseas press.

Zhang was part of a group of journalists to meet with Secretary of State John Kerry last year in Beijing. Behind closed doors, Zhang complained about censorship. Soon after, he lost his job and remains unemployed today.

"It's wrong for journalists to cover up (what) they know," he said. "I cannot help the government cover people's eyes and ears."

Forty-four journalists were sitting in Chinese prisons by late last year. Gao Yu's sentencing may serve as a high-profile warning to other journalists and is indicative of the intensifying crackdown on press freedoms.

china-journalist.jpg
Pro-democracy protesters hold up signs during a demonstration calling for the release of Chinese journalist Gao Yu outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong, April 17, 2015. TYRONE SIU, REUTERS