Gao Qinrong vows to continue exposing corruption and fighting to clear his name Despite spending eight years in jail on what he maintains were trumped-up charges, recently released journalist Gao Qinrong has no regrets over exposing corruption and will continue fighting for personal and social justice. Gao, 46, was a reporter with the Shanxi Youth Daily in the late 1980s when he began to write reports on corrupt local officials, including the cover-up of crimes committed by the Taiyuan deputy party secretary's son and illegal charges imposed by the Public Security Bureau in Yuncheng . In 1997, he reported that Yuncheng authorities had spent 200 million yuan on a dud irrigation project. The article was published in the internal reference publication of the People's Daily. Within a year, he was in prison serving a 13-year sentence for what he said were false convictions for pimping, fraud and bribery. Gao was released from Jinzhong prison less than two weeks ago after his sentence was reduced by four years for good behaviour. He may now be free, but fears for his safety. In 2003, the man jailed for tipping off Gao about the irrigation scheme was left a paraplegic by an attack after his release from prison. 'A police car escorted me home because of the security concerns,' Gao said. He was not expecting the queues of journalists from domestic and overseas media hoping for an interview, and was equally surprised by the government's swift decision to ban reports on him. Since yesterday, internet search engine results for Gao on sites such as Baidu could not be accessed. Web pages carrying reports or discussions on Gao were blocked. An open online discussion with him at Sohu.com was taken offline. Gao said people should have freedom of speech. 'As long as it is the truth, anyone can speak,' he said, adding he would continue to push for official recognition of his innocence. 'I know the chances are slim, but I will still have a go until I die. It will show, that as a Chinese person, I have made an effort to improve the judicial system and the rule by law.' Gao said he still wanted to be a journalist and his time in prison had informed his view of faults in the system. 'The key to corruption is insufficient supervision and checks on the power of authorities,' he said. 'The media is the most active force supervising power and supplies the basis for decision-making. If the media airs a public outcry, they should not be banned.' Eight years ago, Gao did not expect his reports would result in him being jailed. 'I was too optimistic then. I did not expect there would be an unfair court sentence.' He said the Communist Party's policy was correct, but the problem was the implementation by local officials. 'They have a feudal way of thinking - they are the officials and you are nobody.' Gao said that even though he had been wronged for eight years, he still had an optimistic view. 'Maybe for me it is a personal disaster, but it is inevitable that society will advance and progress.' He said he owed much to his wife, who raised their daughter on a monthly salary of 700 yuan and constantly went to Beijing to petition for his release. However, he has no regrets about what he did. 'A journalist should reflect what the public is concerned about. I did not do anything wrong.' International press freedom groups say there are at least 42 journalists behind bars in China.