World Association of News Publishers

Protest Campaign - China, 21 April 2015

Protest Campaign - China, 21 April 2015

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His Excellency President Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
Beijing, People’s Republic of China


C/O The Chinese Ambassador to France
Mr Zhai Jun


21 April 2015


Your Excellency,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our grave concern at the sentencing of journalist Gao Yu to seven years in jail.

According to reports, on 17 April a court convicted Gao Yu of leaking state secrets and handed down a seven-year prison sentence. The freelance journalist denies leaking an internal Communist Party document urging authorities not to tolerate support for democracy, press freedom, civil society and human rights. Gao Yu, who is 71 and has been detained since 24 April 2014, claims that her conviction was based solely on her confession, which was made under pressure because her son was also in custody at the time, and will reportedly appeal the sentence.

Gao Yu has been jailed and held under house arrest repeatedly for her work as a journalist. She was awarded the 1995 Golden Pen of Freedom by our organisations, which honoured her courage, self-sacrifice and contribution to the struggle for freedom of expression in your country. The Golden Pen of Freedom 2015 will be awarded in Washington, D.C. in June, honouring 'Journalists Killed in the Line of Duty'.

We respectfully remind you that jailing Gao Yu for carrying out her professional duties constitutes a clear breach of the fundamental right of freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by numerous international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.”

We call on you to ensure that Gao Yu is immediately released from prison and charges against her are dropped. We urge you to recognise the importance of a free press, end media intimidation and release all journalists and bloggers detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression.


We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.


Yours sincerely,


Tomas Brunegård
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Erik Bjerager
World Editors Forum


WAN-IFRA is the global organization for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organization groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2015-04-21 12:51

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...