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Chinese democracy campaigner attacks Yahoo! snitchers

Chris Williams / The Register | November 1 2006

Yahoo!'s snitching to Beijing over pro-democracy activity on the internet refuses to go away. Leading campaigner Wei Jingsheng sigled out the portal on Monday for actions which directly led to a journalist being imprisoned in 2004.

He made the attack on Monday at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, Computerworld reports.

In 2004, Yahoo!'s burgeoning Chinese tentacle provided the neccessary files to connect an email received by a New York-based pro-democracy website to its sender, a reporter on Hunan Province's Contemporary Business News. Shi Tao leaked internal Communist Party documents revealing how the regime planned to suppress coverage of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Wei Jinsheng said: "Let me specify Yahoo. They will track down Internet users and help to sentence them. This really threatens the safety of Internet writers in China."

When Shi Tao was jailed for divulging state secrets, Yahoo!'s actions drew damning criticism from media free speech organisation Reporters Without Borders and human rights campaign Amnesty International.

In its defence, Yahoo! later said: "When Yahoo! China in Beijing was required to provide information about the user, who we later learned was Shi Tao, we had no information about the nature of the investigation. We were unaware of the particular facts surrounding the case until the news story emerged."

More on Wei Jinsheng's comments here.

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