Friday, February 10, 2006

YAHOO! HELP JAIL CHINESE DISSIDENT, AGAIN

Yahoo! up to their old tricks again: Dissident jailed 'after Yahoo handed evidence to police'
THE American internet company Yahoo! provided evidence to Chinese police that enabled them to imprison one of its users, according to allegations that came to light yesterday.

The disclosure marked the second time in months that the company had been accused of helping China to put someone in jail. Li Zhi, a civil servant, was imprisoned on charges of trying to subvert state power after he criticised corruption and tried to join the dissident China Democracy Party.

The link between him and Yahoo! was hidden after he was sentenced to eight years in 2003. However, a copy of the appeal filed by his lawyer in 2004 — posted on Boxun.com, the US-based Chinese-language news portal — alleges that Yahoo! Hong Kong provided details of Mr Li’s e-mail registration to the police.

Yahoo! said that it could not comment on an individual case. However, it said that it turned over to governments only legally required information. Mary Osako, at Yahoo! headquarters in California, said: “We would not know whether a demand for information focused on murder, kidnapping or another crime.” She added that Yahoo! regarded the internet as a positive force in China.

The journalist Shi Tao may not agree. He was jailed for ten years last year on charges of leaking state secrets after Yahoo! supplied Chinese police with his user identification.

Julien Pain, an internet expert with the Paris-based Reporters without Borders, believes that the revelation that Yahoo! had co-operated in two cases could be the tip of an iceberg. He said: “The problem is how many (cases) do we not know about? Probably dozens, given how hard it is to get information from China. Yahoo! should release a list of people they helped to jail.”

M Pain urged internet companies to reduce their operations in China. He alleged: “Yahoo! certainly knew that it was helping to arrest political dissidents and journalists, not just ordinary criminals.”
Disgusting. And it goes without saying, it's not just Yahoo! who are brown-nosing the Chinese government.

Time to start using another search engine? Students for a Free Tibet have a list of supposedly ethical alternatives. To show your displeasure at the major search engines pandering to Beijing's repressive rulers, you can send a letter to the following:
  • Cisco Chief Marketing Officer, Susan Bostrom

  • Cisco President & CEO, John Chambers

  • Cisco Senior Vice-President, Dennis Powell

  • Founder and Chief Yahoo, David Filo

  • Founder, Chief Yahoo and Director, Jerry Yang

  • Microsoft CEO, Steven Ballmer

  • Microsoft Founder and Chairman of the Board, Bill Gates

  • Yahoo! CEO, Terry Semel
by clicking here.

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