Yahoo Helps Jail 3rd Dissident

The search engines love China. Google visited last week to open a new research center, Bill Gates stopped in for a nice photo-op, and Yahoo just loves jailing Chinese citizens campaigning for democracy. Wait, which one gave you that bad taste in your mouth?

Let me personally address Yahoo for a moment: Yahoo, you don’t want to be doing this. This makes three. Three Chinese citizens that you have helped jail for advocating “western-style” democracy. I think that’s the kind where you can vote and get freedom of speech and stuff. And worst of all, this latest incident comes just two months after you testified, under oath, that you regretted being ‘forced’ to help in Beijing.

But you’re not really being forced. I know you think you’re getting a bad deal here. You’re crying Google — that they complied and censored Google China. We know, but there’s a difference between Google complying with international customs and you handing over evidence to get people arrested. That’s something Google doesn’t do. Remember the court case you guys were all in with the DOJ. You need to stop handing over emails that show your users discussing (gasp!) pro-democracy topics, especially when you know doing so will get them imprisoned. For many years.

Back to you guys.

That’s right; Reporters Without Borders announced on Wednesday that it had obtained a copy of the verdict against cyber-dissident Jiang Lijun. Jiang was sentenced to four years in prison for producing a pro-democracy article. The verdict notes that Yahoo Holdings provided Chinese authorities with a draft email that had been saved on Jiang’s email account. The email was then used as evidence for his ‘crime of subversion’.

According to the verdict, the recovered document was entitled “Declaration” and is said to be similar to two other documents that were recovered from a computer and floppy disk owned by two additional activists entitled ‘Freedom and Democracy Party Program” and “Declaration of Establishment”. This is almost too much.

Reporters Without Borders agrees and says we may begin to hear other cases were Yahoo has turned in dissidents to Chinese authorities. The group said they believe there are similar cases pending that could implicate Yahoo but was not able to discuss them because they are still being investigated.

I don’t know about you, but people being imprisoned for innocently distributing or creating information makes me incredibly sad.

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