French media group calls Yahoo a stool pigeon

20th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

SAN FRANCISCO, April 19, 2006 (AFP) - A France-based press freedom group on Wednesday accused US Internet search giant Yahoo of helping China arrest 'cyberdissident' Jiang Lijun in 2003.

SAN FRANCISCO, April 19, 2006 (AFP) - A France-based press freedom group on Wednesday accused US Internet search giant Yahoo of helping China arrest 'cyberdissident' Jiang Lijun in 2003.

Recently obtained court documents revealed that Yahoo provided Chinese officials information that led to Jiang's arrest for posting pro-democracy articles online, according to Reporters Without Borders (RWP).

Jiang was subsequently charged with subversion and sentenced to four years in prison in November of 2003, court records indicated.

Court papers released by RWP stated "user information provided by Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd" enabled Chinese police to link Jiang and fellow democracy advocate Li Yibing to an e-mail account with critical, pro-democracy documents.

"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 press freedom organisation said.

Yahoo responded to the accusation by saying it was "unaware of this case" and that it was unclear how information about Jiang's online activities was obtained by Chinese officials.

RWP conceded the possibility that Li provided police with the access code for the e-mail account.

"Let us make clear that we condemn punishment of any activity internationally recognized as free expression, whether that punishment takes place in China or anywhere else in the world," said Yahoo spokeswoman Mary Osako.

"While we absolutely believe companies have a responsibility to identify appropriate practices in each market in which they do business, we also think there is a vital role for government-to-government discussion of the larger issues involved."

A RWP delegation went to Yahoo's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, last week and urged the company to stop collaborating with Chinese officials, according to Lucie Morillon of the group.

"We called on them to remove their email servers from China, because it is the only way to avoid taking part in the current crackdown against journalists and democrats," Morillon stated in a written statement.

RWP contended that Jiang's was the third known arrest involving Yahoo in China, with the others arrested being Shi Tao and Li Zhi.

"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 behaviour," the group said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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