Yahoo raps China for punishing views
HONG KONG (AP) — China should not punish people for expressing their political views on the Internet, Yahoo Inc. said yesterday, a day after the mother of a Chinese reporter announced she was suing the U.S. company for helping officials imprison her son.
Yahoo criticized China in a brief statement that didn’t specifically mention the case of jailed journalist Shi Tao, whose mother visited Hong Kong on Sunday. Mr. Shi was sentenced to 10 years in 2005 after sending an e-mail about Chinese media restrictions.
The company has acknowledged sharing information about Mr. Shi with Chinese authorities.
The Internet company, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., also said it has told China that it condemns “punishment of any activity internationally recognized as free expression.”
Mr. Shi was writing for the financial publication Contemporary Business News when he circulated an e-mail with his notes about a government circular about media restrictions. He was convicted of leaking state secrets.
Mr. Shi’s legal challenge, filed on May 29 in U.S. District Court, is part of a lawsuit filed earlier by the World Organization for Human Rights USA. The group is suing Yahoo Inc. and its subsidiary in Hong Kong. Also named is Alibaba.com Inc., a Yahoo partner that runs Yahoo China.
“I believe my son is innocent. We will fight until the end,” she told reporters.
The 61-year-old mother was in South Africa last week to receive the annual Golden Pen of Freedom prize on behalf of her son.
Plaintiffs in the American case include imprisoned dissident Wang Xiaoning and his wife, Yu Ling.
Mr. Wang was sentenced in September 2003 on the charge of “incitement to subvert state power,” a vaguely defined statute that the Communist Party frequently uses to punish its political critics.