TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Yahoo Accused of Helping Jail China Internet Writer

Yahoo Accused of Helping Jail China Internet Writer

Reuters News Wire (
Wed, 19 Apr 2006 10:28:14 -0500

Yahoo Inc. may have helped Chinese police to identify an Internet
writer who was subsequently jailed for four years for subversion in
the third such case, an advocacy group for journalists said on

News implicating Yahoo in the imprisonment of Jiang Lijun in 2003
surfaced on the eve of a summit between Chinese President Hu Jintao
and President Bush in Washington.

It was the third such case involving the U.S. Internet giant.

Yahoo was accused of providing electronic records to Chinese
authorities that led to an eight-year prison term for Li Zhi for
subversion in 2003 and of helping to identify Shi Tao, who was accused
of leaking state secrets abroad and jailed last year for 10 years.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said it had obtained a copy
of the verdict showing that Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) helped Chinese
police to identify Jiang by confirming that the e-mail account
ZYMZd2002 had been used jointly by Jiang and another pro-democracy
activist Li Yibing.

"Little by little we are piecing together the evidence for what we
have long suspected, that Yahoo! is implicated in the arrest of most
of the people that we have been defending," the group said.

"We hope this Internet giant will not, as it has each time it has been
challenged previously, hide behind its local partner, Alibaba, to
justify its behavior. Whatever contract it has with this partner, the
e-mail service is marketed as Yahoo!," it said.

But the watchdog conceded that the access code could also have been
provided by Li, who is suspected of having been a police informer in
the case.

Yahoo could not immediately be reached for comment. The company has
defended itself in the past, saying it had to abide by local laws.

The 40-year-old Jiang was accused of seeking to use "violent means" to
impose democracy, Reporters Without Borders said.

Police believed Jiang to be the leader of a small group of Internet
dissidents, including Liu Di, a university student who was detained
for one year and released in November 2003 after police decided
against pressing charges.

The case is the latest in a string of examples that highlight the
friction between profits and principles for Internet companies doing
business in China, the world's number-two Internet market.

Web search giant Google Inc. has come under fire for saying it would
block politically sensitive terms on its new China site, bowing to
conditions set by Beijing.

In December, Microsoft Corp. shut down a blog at MSN Spaces belonging
to outspoken blogger Michael Anti under Chinese government orders.

China has intensified a crackdown on the media in the past year,
sacking newspaper editors, arresting journalists and closing

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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