February 15, 1999
BEIJING (CNN) -- Prominent Chinese dissident and journalist Gao Yu was released from prison Monday, suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney problems.
"Her health is not good," her son Zhao Meng said of his 55-year-old mother, jailed in 1994 for publishing articles overseas containing what Chinese officials said were state secrets. Gao, winner of UNESCO"s 1997 Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, pleaded innocent to the charges.
Human rights activists have pushed for Gao's release -- along with that of at least 13 other journalists still imprisoned in China -- for some time. But Gao's son, who has been dreaming of this day, harbors no illusions that China has gained a new respect for human rights.
"The government should be able to tolerate people who criticize it," said Zhao.
Gao's release follows the December arrest and sentencing of veteran dissident Xu Wenli and several other pro-democracy activists, prompting harsh criticism from the United States government.
Xu's wife said she thinks Gao's release is nice, but not meaningful.
"China treats its own citizens like hostages," said He Xintong. "It's tragic. They imprison them, then they send them abroad. Then they (the dissidents) hold dialogue with foreigners. Why can't they have dialogue with their own people?"
The Clinton administration is under growing pressure at home to sponsor a U.N. resolution this spring condemning China's human rights record. It remains unclear whether China will succeed in counteracting its critics simply by releasing more dissidents.
China challenges Hong Kong on immigration court ruling
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.