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Yahoo Lies About Report Leading to Jail for Chinese Dissident

Yahoo Lies About Report Leading to Jail for Chinese Dissident

Executives at Yahoo: yesterday company chief executive testified to Congress on Yahoo false statements.

November 7, 2007 —

Internet giant Yahoo and was under ethical fire yesterday in Congress’s House Foreign Affairs Committee. Members of the committee met with Yahoo’s chief executive Jerry Yang who was testifying on Yahoo’s handling of an incident in China that led to the incarceration of a dissident. The committee accused Yahoo of lying on its reporting of how it cooperated with the Chinese government’s 2004 investigation of Shi Tao. Tao is a reporter and editor at Contemporary Business News in China who used Yahoo as part of his journalism.

The congressional committee was grilling Jerry Yang on how a Yahoo executive gave false testimony last year on the Chinese investigation. The Yahoo executive testified that Yahoo had “no information about the nature of the investigation” after the company had received a demand from China’s State Security Ministry for Shi Tao’s email records. As it turned out, China’s demand was very specific in stating the records were for “a case of suspected illegal provision of state secrets.” This is a charge often used by China against dissidents. Yahoo’s executives failed to notify the congress on the language, then falsely denied knowing about the purpose of the investigation.

Committee chairman Tom Lantos told Yahoo’s Yang and Yahoo general counsel Michael J. Callahan: "While technologically and financially you are giants, morally you are pygmies.” The Committee is requesting that Yahoo discipline the officers involved in the lying and that Yahoo compensate Shi Tao’s family in China. Yang said no one had been fired yet.

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