Yahoo's compliance with the wishes of the Chinese government back in 2002 -- a move that may have resulted in the 10 year jail sentence and alleged torture of Wang Xiazoning, born in 1951 -- has come home to roost in a California courtroom. IDG's Jeremy Kirk reports:
The wife of an imprisoned Chinese dissident has sued Yahoo for divulging information about her husband's Internet activity, which allegedly led to his arrest and torture....The suit was filed by the World Organization for Human Rights USA on behalf of Yu Ling, the wife of Wang Xiazoning, said Monique Beadle, refugee project director for the organization. Wang was arrested in September 2002 on charges including "incitement to subvert state power."
It was in April 2006 that Yahoo's role in the jailing of Xiazoning came to light. Back then, a Reuters story reported:
Evidence cited in the verdict included "information provided by Yahoo Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. stating that Wang's "aaabbbccc" Yahoo Group was set up using the mainland China-based e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org," HRIC said....Yahoo Holdings (Hong Kong) also confirmed that the e-mail address email@example.com, through which Wang sent messages to his Yahoo Group, was a China-based account, it said.
After Yahoo's role in the Chinese affair came to light, controversy erupted here in the US over whether search giants like Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft were obligated to acquiesce to the Chinese government, even if it meant compromising American values, particularly after Google censored its Chinese portal (abdicating to one government) while digging in its heels against another (the US government) over the surrender of certain search data.