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China: journalist faces life in prison for 'leaking state secrets'

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By Euronews
China: journalist faces life in prison for 'leaking state secrets'

<p>An outspoken and respected Chinese journalist accused of leaking state secrets to foreign contacts faces a life prison sentence. There was a heavy police presence around the court in Beijing as the trial of 70-year-old Gao Yu got underway on Friday.</p> <p>Footage of Gao confessing to a crime and expressing remorse was aired on Chinese television.</p> <p>Her lawyer said she told judges at a pre-trial hearing that she was forced to confess when threats were made against her son.</p> <p>Meanwhile in the northwest of China, Ilham Tohti, an economics professor given life imprisonment for “separatism”, has lost an appeal against his sentence.</p> <p>Tohti campaigned for better rights for China’s Uighur minority. </p> <p>His case has been condemned by the US, the European Union and <a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/09/15/china-uighur-scholar-s-trial-travesty-justice" rel="external">human rights groups</a>.</p> <p>Experts say it is one of the toughest penalties in more than a decade for an outspoken critic of the state.</p>