This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 17 April 2015.
In response to the seven-year jail sentence that a Beijing court passed today on the journalist Gao Yu for "disclosing state secrets," Reporters Without Borders is releasing internal Chinese Communist Party documents as a form of protest and to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the government's attempts to control news and information.
By releasing these documents, Reporters Without Borders is showing that independent journalists and activists inside China will continue to send censored information abroad and will continue to expose the Communist Party's lies and propaganda.
The internal memos and directives obtained by Reporters Without Borders, which came from the State Internet Information Office and other departments, show how the authorities stepped up their control of the Internet at the end of last year.
The documents - which include censorship directives to news media, memos circulated within Internet companies that cooperate with the censors, and summaries of meetings - testify to the scale of the party's efforts to shape public opinion in accordance with its political vision.
"We are appalled by this verdict and sentence, which ignored the proof of Gao Yu's innocence supplied by her lawyers," said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk.
"Today, the Chinese authorities ensured that a lie prevails so we would like to remind them of a truth: for each journalist or blogger they convict and turn into a political prisoner, they create ten new defenders of freedom of information and media freedom, ten new activists who will defend the public interest by revealing what the authorities want to cover up.
Ismaïl added: "It was thanks to one of these journalists that we obtained these internal Chinese Communist Party documents."
After the sentence was announced, Gao's lawyer, Mo Shaoping, said he would appeal. The authorities accused Gao of sending an internal Communist Party document that was "secret" to a foreign news organization although the document, identified as "Document No. 9," had already been posted online.
Yesterday, on the eve of the announcement of the sentence, Reporters Without Borders called on the authorities to free Gao and drop all charges against her. Gao, who won the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize in 1997, has been held since 24 April 2014.
Extracts from the messages to Internet censors and directives to news media and various news websites are available here. Reporters Without Borders will soon post all the documents it obtained.
Download the document released by RWB.
china_state_documents_rwb.pdf (218 KB)