An appeals court on Friday upheld the prison sentences of a government employee convicted of leaking state secrets and a prominent journalist convicted of receiving them.

The Beijing Higher People's Court upheld the 13-year sentence for Gao Chao, 38, an employee in a central government office, and a six-year sentence for the reporter, Gao Yu, 50, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. It was not known if the two are related.Gao Yu's sentencing was reported by human rights groups last month, but the Xinhua report was the first word on Gao Chao.

The two are believed to have been charged under a sweeping new state security law that empowers authorities to prosecute a broad range of offenses.

China's Communists have been trying to tighten their grip over the country's media in an apparent attempt to ward off any challenge to their power after the death of Deng Xiaoping, China's 90-year-old senior leader.

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Gao Chao was convicted of smuggling two top-secret documents and three other secret documents.

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