A seventy-year old journalist was arrested. Ms. Gao Yu was charged on alleged crime of 'illegally provide national secret to overseas'.
The document at question is a CCP's internal doctrine [File No. 9: A Report on Current Situation in Ideological Domain, issued by the CCP's Central Committee Chief Staff's Office], also known as the 'Seven No Say'. Specifically, it cautioned party members, 80 millions strong in China, not to use or mention following phrases at any time:
- universal value;
- freedom of the press;
- civil society;
- civic rights;
- CCP's past mistakes;
- crony capitalism;
- judicial independence;
A former college professor Zhang Xuezhong posted this rumor online in May, which was immediately removed and blocked. Zhang was fired by East China University of Political Science and Law in December, 2013. For a long time there had been debate and speculations online regarding whether the rumor of this Seven No Say was true, until today. The charge said Gao Yu translated this document in its entirety by herself and forwarded it to Hong Kong based Mirror Monthly under Der Spiegel.
The charge itself is problematic. For one, the literal translation of 'illegally provide national secret to overseas' begged the question of whether that is a legal way of providing national secret to overseas.
The awkward choice of wording of the charge might stem from difficulties to frame the journalist of leaking a national secret, because she has no access to this 'secret'. The document was faxed to her by someone anonymously, who could be a conscious citizen or a rival political leader inside the CCP.
A prosecutor will have trouble to prove actual damage or potential damage to the nation in the court trial, because what was revealed was not any specific. If the Party has a mind, then this equates to what the Party was thinking. It is an assessment of the political eco-environment as well a style guide for Party members.
When a communist believes everyone is his enemy, it's hardly a crime. It may not even amount to a secret because no action has been taken; a privacy issue perhaps. When he recites his thinking loudly in a hall full of people, you may argue his tongue leaked a secret of his. At this point, once it came out of his own month, it is no longer anything confidential or secret. However, instead of arresting his own tongue, the communist arrested the old lady who happened to have heard his recital and passed on to another person.
Born in 1944, Gao is a veteran journalist. She worked for China News Service, and was former deputy Editor-in-Chief for the Economics Weekly. She had been arrested twice before in 1989 and 1994 on similar charges. Gao served jail time 1989-1990 and 1993-1999.
Gao had been reported missing since April 24, 2014 by family and friends before the official news agency Xinhua News confirmed that Gao was arrested on May 8, 2014. Xinhua News Agency said Gao confessed the crimes she had committed, and that Gao was very regrettable over what she did. Xinhua stated Gao said she felt guilty and sorry, and that she would be happy to accept punishment for her crimes.