Prominent Chinese Journalist Criminally Detained By Beijing

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2007 File photo of Chinese journalist Gau Yu after she was  released from serving a 7-year prison sentence. (MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images)

2007 File photo of Chinese journalist Gau Yu after she was released from serving a 7-year prison sentence. (MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images)

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BEIJING (CBS DC/AP) — Prominent Chinese journalist Gao Yu has been “criminally detained” just weeks ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown for allegedly leaking state secrets to a foreign news site, the state news agency Xinhua reported Thursday.

The detention of the outspoken 70-year-old journalist was just one of several detentions of government critics over the previous days ahead of the politically sensitive June 4 anniversary.

The report said the journalist was detained April 24, with authorities seizing evidence at her Beijing home. Gao was a well-known government critic who was imprisoned after the 1989 crackdown and had been reported missing since April 26. The report said Gao had confessed to the misdeeds.

Xinhua also reported that Gao was given a six-year prison sentence in 1993 for leaking state secrets.

On Tuesday, Chinese authorities detained well-known rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang and several other people in an apparent bid to deter activists from marking the anniversary of the military suppression of pro-democracy protesters. Pu’s associate Qu Zhenhong said the lawyer was detained Tuesday morning.

Two of Pu’s close friends, Beijing activist Hu Jia and Shanghai lawyer Si Weijiang, said the detention was likely the authorities’ retaliation against Pu for attending a seminar in Beijing on Saturday to discuss the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Several other people who attended the seminar, including Beijing-based scholars Hao Jian and Xu Youyu and blogger and free speech activist Liu Di, were similarly detained Tuesday, Hu said, citing their family members.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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