MOSCOW, November 20 (Sputnik) — The November 21 trial of Gao Yu, a 70-year-old Chinese intellectual dissident and political activist, accused of leaking state secrets, proves China's hypocrisy when it comes to the rule of law, Amnesty International said Thursday on its website.
"President Xi [Jinping] has played up the importance of the rule of law, but that is a mere facade when it comes to cases the government deems to be politically 'sensitive'. The authorities still pick and choose when to apply the rule of law," China researcher at Amnesty International William Nee said.
On October 28, 2014, China's President Xi Jinping said that China would firmly follow a path of socialist rule of law, news which Amnesty International received with skepticism.
According to Nee, if Gao Yu was to receive a fair trial, the charges against them would be dismissed "as blatant political persecution."
Gao is accused of sharing an internal Chinese Communist Party ideological letter with a foreign news agency, which the authorities equated to sharing a state secret. On May 8 Gao appeared on TV and publicly admitted sharing state secrets. According to Nee, he was under psychological pressure from China's authorities.
This is not the first case when political and human rights activists have been convicted of offences in China. On September 23 China's Uighur independence-oriented activist Ilham Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment for separatism.
On October 30, 2014, Amnesty International signed a letter to US President Barack Obama ahead of his visit to China, urging him to help secure the release of China's political and human rights activists. Although Obama publicly called for the release of Ilham Tohti and other activists, none of them were freed.
China sometimes releases political activists that presumably do not pose a threat to political stability. On August 13, 2014, Chinese authorities released a Tibetan political prisoner Tsekyab, charged with allegedly distributing political literature, after he had completed a two-year prison term.