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EU, US condemn Chinese journalist Gao Yu's prison sentence

The EU has demanded that China review journalist Gao Yu's seven-year prison sentence, while the US has called for her immediate release. Gao was convicted of leaking state secrets.

European Union countries on Friday insisted that Beijing reassess the ruling given out to international journalist Gao Yu,

sentenced to seven years imprisonment

on charges of leaking state secrets.

"We call for the immediate review of Ms. Gao Yu's case, in line with international standards as well as other cases of individuals who have been prosecuted for the peaceful expression of their views or their calls for transparency,"

the bloc said in a statement published on its website.

EU member states said there were "serious doubts" about the legal procedure and that Gao's sentence and sentences in many similar cases were against the "protections and freedoms they are entitled under the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, signed by China more than 15 years ago."

Washington condemns verdict

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf demanded that China release Gao immediately and respect its human right commitments, the Associated Press reported.

"The conviction of this veteran journalist is part of a disturbing pattern of government action against public interest lawyers, Internet activists, journalists, religious leaders and others who peacefully question official Chinese policies and actions," the spokeswoman said.

71-year-old Gao, who featured on the International Press Institute's 50 "world press heroes" list in 2000, was charged with illegally providing "state secrets to foreigners."

A regular contributor to DW

, Gao was convicted of giving a strategy paper called Document No.9 to an overseas media group.

The document argued for aggressive curbs on the spread of Western democracy, universal values, civil society and press freedom, which China's Communist Party considered a threat.

mg/bw (AFP, AP)

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