- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 29, 2012

BEIJING — A Chinese dissident imprisoned for 10 years on a state subversion conviction supported by evidence from the Web portal Yahoo is due to be released Friday after completing his term, his wife said.

The American Internet company drew strong condemnation from U.S. lawmakers and rights advocates for cooperating with Chinese authorities in prosecuting dissidents and a well-known journalist. Yahoo Inc. later apologized and settled a lawsuit with the families involved for an undisclosed amount.

Wang Xiaoning’s wife, Yu Ling, said in a phone interview that the Beijing No. 2 Prison told her of his release Friday morning and that she should meet him at the prison gate.

“I’m very happy that finally I can be reunited with my husband after all these years,” Mrs. Yu said.

Mr. Wang was detained in September 2002 and later sentenced for “incitement to subvert state power” — a vaguely defined charge frequently used to punish political critics. Mr. Wang distributed pro-democracy writings by e-mail and through Yahoo Groups.

A former engineer in China’s weapons industry, Mr. Wang had been detained previously for his political activities following the June 4, 1989, military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Rights groups said passages from writings cited at his trial in 2003 included: “Without a multiparty system, free elections and separation of powers, any political reform is fraudulent.”

Others called China an “authoritarian dictatorship” and complained of continuing widespread corruption, poverty and exploitation of workers.

A lawsuit Mr. Wang and others filed in the United States showed that Yahoo’s wholly owned subsidiary based in Hong Kong gave police information linking Mr. Wang to his anonymous emails and other political writings he posted online.

Yahoo could not immediately be reached for comment.

The case has raised questions about whether Internet companies should cooperate with governments that deny freedom of speech and frequently crack down on journalists.

It also has been the subject of U.S. congressional hearings in which lawmakers have accused Yahoo of collaborating with an oppressive communist regime.

Yahoo started coming under fire in 2005 in the case of journalist Shi Tao. Rights groups complained that the company was cooperating with Chinese authorities and that it had disclosed information about the online activities of Mr. Shi and of dissidents including Mr. Wang.

Yahoo had given Chinese prosecutors emails from Mr. Shi’s account, which was used as evidence that led to his conviction in 2005 for providing state secrets to foreigners. Mr. Shi, whose emails allegedly contained notes about a government memo on media restrictions, is still serving a 10-year sentence.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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