Yahoo! Settlement Vs. Dangers Of China Business

Published: Thu 15 Nov 2007 09:30 AM
Yahoo! Settlement in Chinese Journalists' Case Does Not Fix Dangers of Doing Business in China
Amy O'Meara, director of business and human rights at Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), released the following statement today in response to the announcement that Yahoo! settled an Internet repression case involving two Chinese journalists jailed and allegedly tortured for e-mails that the company turned over to the Chinese government:
"Compensation may help bring a small measure of justice to the families of Shi Tao and Wang Xiaoning, but it does not fix the underlying problem. Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in jail because Chinese authorities used e-mail account information supplied by Yahoo! to convict him. Band-Aid fixes are not going to stop a case like this from happening again.
"Yahoo's commitments to protect privacy and free speech are suspect given the pledge it signed this summer that further impinges on Chinese users' ability to express political dissent online. Yahoo! must urgently enact policies that will prevent others like Shi Tao or Wang Xioaning from being jailed for political or other writings posted on the Internet.
"Internet companies doing business in China must carefully consider the human rights implications of their actions. It would be unfortunate if companies saw individual settlements like these as the easy way to sweep underlying problems under the rug."
Shi Tao, a former writer for the financial publication Contemporary Business News, was sentenced to a decade in prison under Chinese secrecy laws for allegedly providing state secrets to foreigners. Wang Xiaoning was arrested in 2002 after Yahoo! HK gave authorities information linking him to political writings posted online.
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