According to her lawyer, Gao Yu, an imprisoned Chinese journalist serving a seven-year sentence in a Beijing detention center, has been diagnosed with heart problems, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. Doctors also found abnormal lymph nodes in her neck last month. After hearing the results of her health exams, Gao reportedly told her lawyer that she fears dying in prison.
Gao was convicted of stealing state secrets after allegedly leaking confidential documents to an international organization that outlined the Communist Party’s plan to further crackdown on civil society. The document at issue is referred to as Document No. 9, which argues for the necessity of curbing the spread of Western democracy, universal values, civil society organizations, and press freedom.
In light of her diagnosis, Gao has filed application for medial parole, which would enable her to serve the remainder of her sentence under house arrest. Gao’s family, however, fears that the decision of whether to grant her medical parole may hinge on her willingness to confess to the charges leveled against her. Undeterred by the intense persecution campaign, Gao has continued to staunchly proclaim her innocence and protest government demands that she obtain new legal counsel.