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Privacy International demands Yahoo boycott

The human-rights group is calling for action over claims Yahoo is 'cheerfully sacrificing human rights in return for a cut of the Chinese market'

Privacy International (PI) has called on Internet users to boycott Yahoo over allegations that the Web giant provided information that helped Chinese officials convict a journalist accused of leaking state secrets.

Simon Davies, director of PI, described Yahoo's actions a "reprehensible" on Wednesday.

"This is a disreputable episode. Western companies are increasingly cutting deals with the Chinese government to serve their shareholders' interests at the expense of ethical governance," said Davies in a statement.

"A boycott would send a clear message to Yahoo shareholders and to other companies who cheerfully sacrifice human rights in return for a cut of the Chinese market," Davies added.

As previously reported, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders said on Tuesday that Shi Tao, a 37-year-old writer for the Dangdai Shang Bao (Contemporary Business News), had been sentenced in April to 10 years in prison after being convicted of sending to foreign Web sites a "top secret" government message. The message in question was a warning to journalists of the dangers associated with dissidents returning to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

According to Reporters Without Borders, recently translated court papers revealed that Yahoo Holdings in Hong Kong provided Chinese investigators with detailed information that helped them link Shi's personal email account and a specific message containing the "state secret" to the IP address of his computer.

Yahoo has said it is investigating the charges.

CNET News.com's Jim Kerstetter contributed to this report.