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DW director general calls for a "fair trial under the rule of law" for Gao Yu

(PresseBox) (Bonn, ) DW Director General Peter Limbourg has criticized China's authorities for parading Chinese journalist Gao Yu on national television as a confessed criminal, saying it was "beneath human dignity."

Limbourg said that Gao Yu had "a right to a fair trial which complies with the rule of law." He said he had grave concerns about the fate of the 70-year-old journalist, who has worked for many years for Deutsche Welle's Chinese service. Limbourg expressed his concerns to the Chinese embassy in Berlin a few days ago, asking them to explain Gao Yu's sudden disappearance.

"Deutsche Welle builds bridges of understanding, and wants more dialogue with China," Limbourg said. "That includes giving critical authors a voice, even if they are not able to publish in China." He said it must be possible to conduct a dialogue in an open and respectful manner, despite differences of opinion.

Gao Yu's last article was published on Deutsche Welle's website on April 23 and was about the fall of the reform-oriented party leader Hu Yaobang in 1986. His death in April of 1989 is considered to be what sparked China's 50-day democracy movement in Beijing and elsewhere in China.

In the 1990s Gao Yu spent a total of seven years in prison for her work as a journalist. The charges against her included "publishing state secrets."

In 1995 the International Women's Media Foundation awarded Gao Yu the "Courage in Journalism Award."

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