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Archive for the ‘Yahoo’ Category

The Price of Yahoo! Sale to China- Free Expression ?

Posted by Author on October 26, 2011


Yahoo, the most visited web portal in the United States, appears to be shopping for a parent company. Jack Ma, the Chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s largest e-commerce company, has recently said that he is “very interested” in acquiring the U.S.-based company. Such a shake-up may be just what Yahoo is looking for as a means of reviving growth within the company, but it also raises some significant concerns over the maintenance of Yahoo’s human rights obligations as a major repository and purveyor of information on the internet and an early cautionary example of the challenges companies face when pressed by governments to provide sensitive user information.

Seven years ago, at the Chinese government’s request, Yahoo’s Hong Kong office turned over information that led to the imprisonment of  journalist Shi Tao. Yahoo sought to make amends in various ways, including adopting internal policies and joining with other internet service providers and stakeholders to promote a common, rights-based approach to government demands. Human Rights First urges that any potential  Yahoo suitor commit to upholding Yahoo’s existing policies, and its commitments as a member of the Global Network Initiative, as a starting point. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Business, China, Company, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, News, Politics, Social, Technology, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on The Price of Yahoo! Sale to China- Free Expression ?

China’s new secrets law to suppress free speech and may force Microsoft, Yahoo to follow Google out

Posted by Author on April 29, 2010


by Mike Elgan, IT World, Apr. 29, 2010-

The Chinese government today made sweeping changes to its state secrets law that directly affects Internet companies operating in the country. The amended law goes further to force these companies to help the Chinese Communist Party suppress free speech and censor the Internet.

The law requires that the transmission of “state secrets” over the Internet be stopped by these companies if they “discover” it. The companies are also required to keep records of such transmissions (e-mails, blog posts, text messages and so on) and report them to the Chinese government.

The law effectively requires all Internet companies operating in China — including Microsoft, Cisco, Yahoo and others — to serve as agents of the Government’s internal security apparatus.

What is or is not considered a “state secret” by the law is determined by Communist Party officials. For example, if Falun Gong supporters protest, and some blogger writes about it, that might be considered a “state secret,” and Microsoft would be required to report it.

American Internet companies who operate in China have come under some pressure after Google announced its departure from the country. Microsoft was especially vocal after the Google announcement that it would obey all Chinese laws.

What will companies do? My prediction: They’ll do nothing until their hands are forced by events. It’s a near certainty that information the Chinese government considers “state secrets” will be “transmitted” via Microsoft or Yahoo services, and via Cisco equipment. The American companies will no doubt try their best to not know what’s being communicated, but the Chinese government may actually force them to monitor communications somehow.

In the wake of Google’s brave stand against censorship, it will be interesting to see if a larger exodus of foreign companies isn’t forced by aggressive abuse of Internet companies by the Chinese government.

Read more about the amendments to China’s state secrets law.

– from the IT World

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Economy, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Google, Human Rights, Internet, Law, Microsoft, News, Opinion, Politics, Social, Speech, Technology, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on China’s new secrets law to suppress free speech and may force Microsoft, Yahoo to follow Google out

Google’s noble withdrawal from China

Posted by Author on March 26, 2010


By Will Inboden, The Foreign Policy, Friday, March 26, 2010 –

One year ago, who could have imagined that the most significant international gesture of the year on behalf of freedom in China would come not from the United Nations, the United States, or another government, but from an internet search company? Such was Google’s principled decision this week to follow through on its earlier threat and withdraw from China rather than acquiesce in continued Chinese government control. Beijing reacted with predictable bluster, but I suspect the Politburo leaders were stunned when Google called their bluff and chose to lose access to the most potentially lucrative emerging market in the world rather than keep censoring itself. Google’s concern was not just China’s restrictions on its search results but, more ominously as my FP colleague Blake Hounshell highlighted, the co-opting of Google technology to use in surveillance and entrapment of political dissidents (not to mention from a commercial standpoint the potential theft of sensitive intellectual property). No longer was Google just complicit in restricted information flow; it was now potentially a new tool for the persecution of Chinese activists.

This recalls another recent landmark moment in the turbulent encounter between Chinese state capitalism and Western technology companies, but with a less happy outcome. The Chinese Government’s overconfident posture towards Google likely drew inspiration from Yahoo’s shameful capitulation to the Public Security Bureau in 2004 by turning over Chinese dissident Shi Tao, whose only “crime” was using his Yahoo email account to communicate with overseas Chinese democracy activists.  Shi Tao is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence.

Yahoo publicly admitted its role in late 2005. I was working at the National Security Council at the time, and shortly after Shi Tao’s arrest, some NSC colleagues and I met with a senior Yahoo executive to get their side of the story. It was a thoroughly disillusioning meeting. The Yahoo exec maintained a defiant, defensive posture, clinging to the talking points that Yahoo was just following the local laws in the country it was working in, couldn’t get involved in a “political case” like this, and besides didn’t U.S. Government policy encourage economic engagement with China? To which we reminded him that U.S. policy also encouraged human rights and free speech in China, which Yahoo’s actions directly undermined. Perhaps even more distressing was that the Yahoo exec made clear that his company felt no obligation, even in private, to remonstrate with the Chinese authorities over the arrest or to do anything to assist Shi Tao or his family. It was not an auspicious moment for the argument that Western technology companies will inevitably bring freedom to China. Following months of bad publicity and Congressional pressure, Yahoo eventually reversed course and expressed remorse. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Commentary, Company, Google, Human Rights, News, Opinion, Politics, Social, Speech, Technology, Trade, USA, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on Google’s noble withdrawal from China

(photos) Carrefour Completely Blocked by China Internet Search Engines

Posted by Author on April 30, 2008


Pictures from The Epochtimes, Apr. 30-

The Chinese name of Carrefour, “家乐福” is completely blocked by Chinese Internet search engines, including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft’s Chinese version search engine.

Here’s the captured screens of search results by using key word “家乐福”:

Carrefour Blocked by China Internet Search Engins(1)

Above: Carrefour Blocked by China’s NO. 1  Internet Search Engins(1), Baidu.

Carrefour Blocked by China Internet Search Engins(2)

Above: Carrefour Blocked by Google, Yahoo and other Chinese search engines.

Carrefour Blocked by China Internet Search Engins(3)

Carrefour Blocked by China Internet Search Engins(4)

Above: Carrefour Blocked by Microsoft.

Posted in censorship, China, Company, Google, Human Rights, Internet, Microsoft, News, Photo, Politics, search engine, Speech, website, World, Yahoo | 1 Comment »

Hot Canada TV Documentary Taken Down From Youtube: Beyond the Red Wall (video)

Posted by Author on November 22, 2007


A hot TV documentary was taken down today from Youtube after 2 weeks posting “due to a copyright claim by Canamedia Inc”, according to the message on Youtube.

The documentary, Beyond the Red Wall- The Persecution of Falun Gong, has become a hot topic among Canadian medias and people, because of the incident that the government-run media CBC TV pulled the documentary at the last minutes before its broadcasting after getting calls from the Chinese embassy.

In spite of the fact that the video was already shown in several different languages in different area in Canada, CBC decided to cut the video, which was produced by an independent film producer, Peter Rowe.

There were two rounds of cutting happened after that. The 2nd cutting was done by CBC without the participant of Peter.

The documentary on Youtube, posted under the user name of “canboguscorp”, claimed is the “Original version”. It was divided in 6 parts to fit the limit of the length required by Youtube.

If you search in Youtube with the keyword “Beyond the Red Wall”, you will see a list of all that 6 parts videos. But no matter which one you click on, a message will show up as “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Canamedia Inc.”

It’s sad we can not watch a original documentary TV program in a free country because of political pressure from China– the largest prison for journalist, says Reporters Without Borders– But even from the re-worked video, we can still find out how horrible persecution is going on in China.

CBC will re-run the re-worked documentary for 3 times on this coming Saturday, Nov. 24, 11:00PM EST, and on Sunday (Nov. 25) 1:00AM, 3:AM EST.

Here’s a one minute title introduction video of the Beyond the Red Wall on Google Video.

Related:

Film On Falun Gong Abuse in China to Air in Canada

Posted in Canada, censorship, China, Company, Falun Gong, Human Rights, Media, News, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, TV / film, Video, World, Yahoo | 1 Comment »

Yahoo isn’t the only U.S. company helping China’s Internet cops

Posted by Author on November 20, 2007


By Peter Navarro, Special to the Los Angeles Times, Via The Seattle Times, U.S, Monday, November 19, 2007-

Which company has committed the greater evil? Yahoo Inc. helped send a reporter to prison by revealing his identity to the Chinese government. Cisco Systems Inc. helps send thousands of Chinese dissidents to prison by selling sophisticated Internet-surveillance technology to China.

If bad press is to be the judge, the “stool pigeon” Yahoo is clearly the bigger villain. In 2004, after the Chinese government ordered the country’s media not to report on the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, journalist Shi Tao used his Yahoo e-mail account to forward a government memo to a pro-democracy group. When China’s Internet police — a force of 30,000 — uncovered this, it pressured Yahoo to reveal Shi’s identity.

Yahoo caved quicker than you can say Vichy France, and Shi is doing 10 years in a Chinese slammer for one click of his subversive mouse.

For ratting out Shi, Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang has been dragged before Congress, called a “moral pygmy ” and forced to issue an apology. In contrast, Cisco and Chief Executive John Chambers have received little public scrutiny for providing China’s cadres of Comrade Orwells with the Internet-surveillance technology they need to cleanse the Net of impure democratic thoughts.

Cisco is hardly alone in helping China keep the jackboot to the neck of its people. Skype, an eBay Inc. subsidiary, helps the Chinese government monitor and censor text messaging. Microsoft Corp. likewise is a willing conscript in China’s Internet-policing army, as Bill Gates’ minions regularly cleanse the Chinese blogosphere.

Google Inc.’s brainiacs, meanwhile, have built a special Chinese version of their powerful search engine to filter out things as diverse as the BBC, freeing Tibet and that four-letter word in China — democracy.

Business executives have justified their actions with a “when in China, do as the Chinese do” defense. To do business in China, these executives insist, they must comply with local laws. But China’s local laws often force executives to make moral and ethical choices that would be intolerable in the West.

The broader problem is that American business executives have little training in how to deal with ethics in a corrupt and totalitarian global-business environment — blame U.S. business schools for that. As a result, moral horizons tend to be short, and executives who find themselves in the heat of a battle don’t know where to draw the line, which is what happened to Yahoo.

Some executives also trot out the “constructive engagement” defense. This too-clever-by-half idea is that companies such as Yahoo, Microsoft, Skype and Cisco are actually pro-democracy elements because they are helping build China’s Internet. Even though these companies collaborate through self-censorship and assist with Internet surveillance, the greater effect is to build free speech — or so the argument goes.

What’s missing from the American corporate perspective is this bigger picture: The collaborative tools that U.S. corporations provide to spy on, and silence, the Chinese people are far more likely to help prop up a totalitarian regime than topple it.

With American corporate help, China remains the world’s biggest prison. As reported by the Laogai Research Foundation, millions of dissidents languish in Chinese-style gulags known as laogai, and thanks in part to U.S. corporations, their numbers are growing.

In addition, human-rights abuses are both systematic and endemic in China. From Catholics and Muslims to the Falun Gong, from pro-democracy voices and investigative journalists to the Free Tibet movement, the penalty for being caught for banned religious or political expression is arrest, beatings and sometimes death.

For all these reasons, it ultimately is shortsighted to single out Yahoo for the kind of behavior now common to many big U.S. companies operating in China. That’s why we need to have a much bigger discussion about how to engage economically and politically with China. It’s also why the proposed Global Online Freedom Act, which would make it unlawful for U.S. companies to filter Internet search results or turn over user information, should not be viewed as a magic bullet but rather as the start of that debate.

Peter Navarro is a business professor at the University of California, Irvine, and the author of “Coming China Wars.”

Report from The Seattle Times

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, Law, Microsoft, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Report, Social, Technology, USA, World, Yahoo | 1 Comment »

Yahoo Settles With Jailed Chinese Dissidents

Posted by Author on November 14, 2007


By John Letzing, MarketWatch, Nov 13, 2007-

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Yahoo Inc. on Tuesday settled a lawsuit filed by Chinese dissidents and their family members who accused the Internet company of complicity in their jailing, following a humiliating episode on Capitol Hill.

Yahoo had been sued earlier this year in California by Wang Xiaoning, Shi Tao and Yu Ling for allegedly providing Chinese authorities with personal information that led to Shi and Wang’s imprisonment and torture.

In a joint stipulation of dismissal filed in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Yahoo and the plaintiffs say they have reached a “private settlement understanding,” though they disclosed no details. Yahoo agreed to bear the dissidents’ legal costs, according to the filing.

In a prepared statement, Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang said that Yahoo will now provide “financial, humanitarian and legal support” to the jailed dissidents’ families. Separately, Yang said Yahoo is also now establishing a fund “to provide support to other political dissidents and their families.”

Morton Sklar, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The settlement follows a dramatic appearance by Yang before a House committee earlier this month. Yang had been called to testify about his company’s responsibility for the jailing of Shi, a journalist who had used Yahoo services to post messages to a pro-democracy Web site.

In previous testimony in 2006, Yahoo general counsel Michael Callahan had said Yahoo had no understanding of why Chinese authorities were interested in Shi, when the company was asked to provide information about him.

Evidence later published by the San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation, however, indicated that Yahoo was aware that the authorities were investigating Shi’s part in the sharing of “state secrets.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, D-Calif., grilled Yang at the committee hearing earlier this month about what his company has done to help Shi’s family, following his jailing.

Yang apologized to Shi’s family at the hearing, and soon after met personally with family members.

“After meeting with the families, it was clear to me what we had to do to make this right for them, for Yahoo and for the future,” Yang said in his statement Tuesday.

It remains unclear, however, how other Internet companies aiming to compete in the Chinese market plan to prevent similar incidents. Yahoo has claimed that it was merely following local laws by handing user information to Chinese authorities, raising the possibility that others may face similar requests.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, Amnesty International director of business and human rights Amy O’Meara said that, “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.”

“Band-Aid fixes are not going to stop a case like this from happening again,” O’Meara said.

John Letzing is a MarketWatch reporter based in San Francisco.

Original report from MarketWatch

Posted in China, Company, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, News, People, Shi Tao, Social, Speech, USA, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on Yahoo Settles With Jailed Chinese Dissidents

‘Morally you are pygmies’– Lawmaker Scolds Yahoo Over Jailed China Journalist

Posted by Author on November 8, 2007


By John Boudreau, San Jose Mercury News, U.S, 11/07/2007 –

Under scorching criticism for Yahoo’s role in handing over e-mail records to Chinese authorities that led to the imprisonment of journalist Shi Tao, Chief Executive Jerry Yang and General Counsel Michael Callahan on Tuesday rose from behind the witness table at a congressional hearing and bowed to Shi’s mother.

Gao Qinsheng, sitting directly behind them, bowed in return. Then she began to sob.

The stunning moment of apparent contrition from two powerful Silicon Valley executives punctuated a day of verbal fireworks as the House Foreign Affairs Committee berated Yahoo for giving up the identity of dissident Shi, who is now serving a 10-year prison sentence.

“While technologically and financially you are giants, morally you are pygmies,” scolded committee Chairman Tom Lantos, a San Mateo Democrat.

The Yahoo executives had again found themselves in the cross hairs of the committee after Lantos charged that Callahan provided false information to Congress in 2006. At that time, Callahan testified that in the case of dissident Shi, Yahoo did not know to whom the e-mail address belonged or why Chinese police were seeking the information.

Callahan since has acknowledged that Yahoo officials had received a subpoena-like document that made reference to suspected “illegal provision of state secrets” – a common charge against political dissidents. Last week, Callahan apologized for not telling Congress that he learned the details of the document months after his February 2006 testimony.

Yang defended the company’s commitment to human rights while describing the importance of China’s market, which has close to 200 million Internet users, an online population that could soon surpass that of the United States.

Callahan contended that Yahoo employees in China had little choice but to comply with the government’s demands. “I cannot ask our local employees to resist lawful demands and put their own freedom at risk, even if, in my personal view, the local laws are overbroad,” he said.

The two executives were subjected to a bipartisan pummeling in which committee member Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., compared Yahoo’s cooperation with the Chinese government to companies that cooperated with Nazi Germany during World War II.

The bruising committee hearing, during which Lantos called the Sunnyvale Internet giant “spineless and irresponsible,” underscored the ethical shoals Silicon Valley companies must navigate in the global economy.

Even as Yang and Callahan testified, the lure of overseas markets was highlighted as shares of Alibaba.com, which owns China’s largest online business-to-business Web site, nearly tripled during its first day of public trading in Hong Kong. In 2005, Yahoo invested $1 billion in Alibaba and owns about 40 percent of the company. Alibaba now runs Yahoo China.

Companies face numerous challenges in tough markets like China, where the government can be friend and foe, observers say.

Just last month, for instance, search engines operated by Google, Yahoo China and Microsoft were redirected to Baidu, a Chinese-owned search provider, at the same time Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, whom China accuses of being a “splitist,” met with President Bush and was awarded the highest congressional civilian award. China’s government rarely explains such actions, but some experts assume it was a form of retaliation.

“There are in the Internet filtering business all manner of coincidences,” observed John Palfrey, executive director of the Berkman Center for the Internet and Society at Harvard University, which closely monitors the Web. “It’s hard to know if they are connected, though it sure looks that way.” …… ( more details from San Jose Mercury News)

Posted in Business, Businessman, China, Company, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, Shi Tao, USA, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on ‘Morally you are pygmies’– Lawmaker Scolds Yahoo Over Jailed China Journalist

Yahoo apologized to To US Congress over jailed China journalist

Posted by Author on November 2, 2007


By Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington and Mure Dickie in Beijing, FT.com via MSNBC, Nov. 1, 2007-

A top Yahoo official who has come under fire for the company’s role in the 2004 imprisonment of a dissident in China apologised on Thursday for failing to tell US lawmakers that Yahoo knew more about the case than he initially acknowledged in testimony last year.

Michael Callahan, Yahoo’s executive vice president and general counsel, said in a statement ahead of a congressional hearing next week that he “realised” that Yahoo had additional information about the nature of the probe into one of its users, Shi Tao, a journalist now serving a 10-year prison sentence in China, months after he testified that Yahoo had “no information” about the investigation.

Yahoo has faced intense criticism for its involvement in the case because, according to US lawmakers, police in Beijing only found Mr Shi after Yahoo provided them with his e-mail account, IP address log-on history, and the contents of his e-mails.

According to the lawmakers, at the time of Mr Callahan’s earlier testimony Yahoo was in possession of a 2004 order issued by the Chinese government.

The order said that authorities were seeking information about a user on suspicions that he “illegally provided state secrets to foreign entities” – a charge that is often invoked in cases involving political dissidents.

“Months after I testified before two House subcommittees on Yahoo’s approach to business in China, I realised Yahoo had additional information about a 2004 order issued by the Chinese government seeking information about a Yahoo China user,” Mr Callahan said in the statement.

The existence of the order was made public after a San Francisco-based human rights group released the documents.

“I neglected to directly alert the committee of this new information and that oversight led to a misunderstanding that I deeply regret and have apologised to the committee for creating,” Mr Callahan said.

He added that in consultations with committee staff they agreed that his 2006 testimony was “truthful”.

He is expected to testify that a lawyer for Yahoo in Asia failed to brief him on the order because the lawyer did not believe it was significant.

The apology marks a shift in strategy at Yahoo, to strike a more conciliatory tone. Last month, the company said it was “grossly unfair” that the company was being singled out by lawmakers on the House foreign relations committee for giving false information to Congress…… (more details from MSNBC: Yahoo in apology on China)

Posted in China, Company, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, Technology, USA, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on Yahoo apologized to To US Congress over jailed China journalist

US Congress panel summons Yahoo officials over ‘false’ testimony on jailed China journalist

Posted by Author on October 19, 2007


AFP, Oct.16, 2007-

WASHINGTON (AFP) — An influential US Congressional panel on Tuesday summoned top officials of Yahoo for a hearing after accusing the Internet giant of providing false information over a case in which a journalist was thrown in jail in China for a decade.

Tom Lantos, the chairman of the House of Representatives committee on foreign affairs, asked the officials to appear at the hearing planned for November 6 to discuss the circumstances under which Chinese journalist Shi Tao was jailed after Yahoo provided user information to Beijing.

Shi Tao, was convicted in 2005 of divulging state secrets after he posted a Chinese government order forbidding media organizations from marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising on the Internet.

Police identified him using information provided by Yahoo. He was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

The US corporation defends its action on the grounds that it has to comply with China’s laws to operate there.

“Our committee has established that Yahoo provided false information to Congress in early 2006,” Lantos said, referring to a hearing in February last year when the company’s senior vice president and general counsel, Michael Callahan, was grilled over Shi Tao’s case.

“We want to clarify how that happened, and to hold the company to account for its actions both before and after its testimony proved untrue. And we want to examine what steps the company has taken since then to protect the privacy rights of its users in China,” said Lantos, a senior Democrat lawmaker.

Callahan and Yahoo chief executive officer Jerry Yang were asked to appear at the upcoming Congressional hearing.

During the previous testimony, Yahoo claimed it “knew nothing” about the nature of the investigations into Shi Tao’s case but “we have now learned there is much more to the story than Yahoo let on,” said Chris Smith, a Republican lawmaker.

He said a Chinese government document that Yahoo had in its possession at the time of the hearing “left little doubt of the government’s intentions,” Smith said.

“US companies must hold the line and not work hand in glove with the secret police,” he charged.

But Yahoo countered Tuesday that the House panel’s decision to single out the company and accuse it of making misstatements was “grossly unfair and mischaracterizes the nature and intent of our past testimony.

“As the committee well knows from repeated meetings and conversations, Yahoo representatives were truthful with the committee. This issue revolves around a genuine disagreement with the committee over the information provided,” Yahoo’s Tracy Schmaler said in a statement to AFP.

She said that businesses in China faced “difficult questions of how to best balance the democratizing forces of open commerce and free expression with the very real challenges of operating in countries that restrict access to information.

“This challenge is particularly acute for technology and communication companies such as Yahoo,” she pointed out.

Yahoo is engaged in a multi-stakeholder process with other companies and human rights groups to develop a global code of conduct for operating in countries around the world, including China, Schmaler said.

It is also working with the US State Department to deal with issues on a “diplomatic level.”

“We believe the answers to these broad and complex questions require a constructive dialogue with all stakeholders engaged in a collaborative manner,” Schmaler said.

She hoped the House committee would approach the upcoming hearing “in that same constructive spirit.”

– Original report from AFP

Posted in censorship, China, Company, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Media, News, People, Politics, Shi Tao, Social, USA, World, Yahoo | 1 Comment »

Yahoo Asks Court To Dismiss Lawsuit Filed by Chinese Writers – “It is a political case”

Posted by Author on August 28, 2007


Jonathan Richards, The Times, UK, August 28, 2007-

Yahoo! has asked a US court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing it of “aiding and abetting” torture in China by releasing information that led to the imprisonment of dissidents.

The search company said yesterday that the legal action was “a political case challenging the Chinese Government” which had no place in the US courts. It said that it had merely been obeying the law when it gave Chinese authorities the registration information of a user who had promoted democracy in a forum.

The company was responding to a lawsuit filed in April by the wife of Wang Xiaoning, a writer with a Yahoo! e-mail account who was jailed for ten years in 2003 after he was found guilty by a Chinese court of “incitement to subvert state power.”

Yahoo! was referred to ten times in the court’s verdict, and the company has acknowledged handing over information – including to the content of e-mails sent by Mr Wang – when requested to do so.

In a filing with a federal court in San Fransisco, Yahoo! said: “This is a lawsuit by citizens of China imprisoned for using the internet in China to express political views in violation of China law. It is a political case challenging the laws and actions of the Chinese government. It has no place in the American courts.”

While Yahoo! “deeply sympathised” with the plaintiffs and their families and “did not condone the suppression of their rights and liberty by their Government,” the company said it had “no control over the sovereign Government of the People’s Republic of China, the laws it passes and the manner in which it enforces its laws.”

The dissidents had “assumed the risk of harm when they chose to use Yahoo! China e-mail and engage in activity they knew violated Chinese law.”

Another of the dissidents involved in the case, Shi Tao, was convicted in 2005 of divulging state secrets after he posted online a Chinese Government order forbidding media organisations from marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising.

“Free speech rights as we understand them in the United States are not the law in China,” Yahoo! said. “Every sovereign nation has a right to regulate speech within its borders.”

Legal experts said that the case, which is being brought under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act, would face difficulties because of US courts’ unwillingness to get involved when foreign nationals fell foul of laws in their own countries.

When the Torture Victim Protection Act was passed in 1992, the first President Bush said that there was a danger that US courts could become embroiled in disputes in other countries. “Potential abuse of the statute would give rise to serious frictions in international relations,” he said at the time, and would be “a waste of our own already overburdened judicial resources.”

Morton Sklar, executive director of the World Organization for Human Rights USA, which is representing the dissidents, told the New York Times: “It is not the Chinese Government that is the defendant here. It is Yahoo!, for their part in this process. They gave the pieces of information that allowed China to take these actions.”

Several internet companies, including Google, have been criticised for blocking politically sensitive content from their Chinese sites.

– Original report from The Times : Yahoo!: we did not assist torture in China

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Economy, email, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, USA, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on Yahoo Asks Court To Dismiss Lawsuit Filed by Chinese Writers – “It is a political case”

China: Microsoft, Yahoo Sign “self-discipline” Pact to Censor Blog

Posted by Author on August 24, 2007


Reporters Without Borders, 23 August 2007-

Reporters Without Borders condemns the “self-discipline pact” signed by at least 20 leading blog service providers in China including Yahoo.cn! and MSN.cn.

Unveiled yesterday by the Internet Society of China (ISC), an offshoot of the information industry ministry, the pact stops short the previous project of making it obligatory for bloggers to register, but it can be used to force service providers to censor content and identify bloggers.

“The Chinese government has yet again forced Internet sector companies to cooperate on sensitive issues – in this case, blogger registration and blog content,” the press freedom organisation said. “As they already did with website hosting services, the authorities have given themselves the means to identify those posting ‘subversive’ content by imposing a self-discipline pact.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “This decision will have grave consequences for the Chinese blogosphere and marks the end of anonymous blogging. A new wave of censorship and repression seems imminent, above all in the run-up to the Communist Party of China’s next congress.”

Under the new pact, blog service providers are “encouraged” to register users under their real names and contact information before letting them post blogs.

More seriously, they will be required to keep this information, which will allow the authorities to identify them. These companies have already in the past provided the police with information about their clients, resulting in arrests.

The pact says “blog providers should monitor and manage comments … and delete illegal and bad information in a timely manner.” Articles 11 and 12 urge them to equip themselves with a secure management system that allows them to keep bloggers’ details, including their real name, address, contact number and email address.

ISC secretary-general Huang Chengqing was clear yesterday when he said: “Blog service providers who allow the use of pseudonyms may be more attractive to bloggers, but they will be punished by the government if they fail to screen illegal information.”

The companies are also urged to adopt “sincere self-discipline and, of their own initiative, to protect the interests of the State and Party.”

These are some of the blog service providers who have agreed to sign the pact – Msn.cn, Renmin Wang, Xinlang, Sohu, Wangyi, Tom, Qianlong Wang, Hexun Wang, Boke Tianxia, Tianji Wang, Yahoo.cn, Huasheng Zaixian, Bolianshe and Tengxun.

– Original report from Reporters Without Borders : Government gets blog service providers to sign “self-discipline” pact to end anonymous blogging

Posted in Blog, Blogger, Business, censorship, China, Company, Economy, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Law, Microsoft, News, People, Politics, Social, USA, World, Yahoo | 2 Comments »

U.S. Congress to Probe Yahoo’s Role in China Censorship

Posted by Author on August 3, 2007


By John Letzing, MarketWatch, U.S, Aug 3, 2007-

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Congressional investigators plan to examine Yahoo Inc.’s possible misrepresentation of its involvement in the jailing of a Chinese dissident, according to a statement released Friday by the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Committee staff “will investigate whether officials from the Internet company Yahoo misrepresented the company’s role in a human rights case in China that sent a journalist to jail for a decade,” Chairman Tom Lantos said in the statement, referring to Chinese journalist Shi Tao.

Shi was jailed after he posted an account of a government crackdown on democracy activists online, and Yahoo provided Chinese authorities with information about his email account, the statement said.

“It is bad enough that a wealthy American company would willingly supply Chinese police the means to hunt a man down for shedding light on repression,” Lantos said in the statement, adding that, “Covering up such a despicable practice when Congress seeks an explanation is a serious offense.”

“We expect to learn the truth, and to hold the company to account,” Lantos said.  (…… more details from MarketWatch’s report)

Posted in Asia, censorship, China, Company, email, Freedom of Speech, Hong kong, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, search engine, Shi Tao, Social, USA, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on U.S. Congress to Probe Yahoo’s Role in China Censorship

Yahoo’s Proposal Opposing China Censorship Rejected by Shareholders

Posted by Author on June 12, 2007


BBC News, Tuesday, 12 June 2007-

Yahoo shareholders have rejected plans for the company to adopt a policy that opposes censorship on the internet.

Proposals to set up a human rights committee which would review its policies around the world, specifically China, were also heavily defeated.

Yahoo has been criticized by human rights groups since 2005 for its role in turning over some political dissidents’ e-mails.

The materials were used to prosecute and imprison them.

But Yahoo insists it must comply with local laws in areas where it operates.

De-listed sites

At the company’s annual general meeting, the censorship proposal won only about 15% of support while only 4% backed the idea of a human rights committee.

Last year, Human Rights Watch, a New York based campaign group, accused Yahoo, Google and Microsoft for “carrying out censorship for the Chinese government”.

Whole websites – including media sources – are eliminated from Yahoo and Google in China.

De-listed sites are skipped over when the search engine trawls the web for results.

Neither Yahoo nor any other company has released a list of websites that have been de-listed for their political and religious content.

The internet firms argue it is better to offer Chinese users some information than none at all.

original from BBC News: Yahoo’s China policy rejected

Posted in Businessman, censorship, China, Company, Human Rights, Internet, Law, News, Politics, search engine, Speech, USA, website, World, Yahoo | 1 Comment »

‘Dismayed’ Yahoo’s Situation & Solution

Posted by Author on June 12, 2007


While Yahoo expresses it’s dismay “that citizens in China have been imprisoned for expressing their political views on the Internet”, and condemns “punishment of any activity internationally recognized as free expression” , it also said companies operating in China must comply with Chinese law or risk having their employees face civil or criminal penalties. See the report here.

Yahoo’s statement came out after:

1.   long time blame from the public over Yahoo’s censoring Internet information and  providing personal information of Internet users to China
2.   one day after the mother of a jailed Chinese reporter Shi Tao announced she was suing the company, which is the second jailed reporter join the lawsuit against Yahoo
3.  maybe also, Yahoo’s Flickr photo site is blocked by China made Yahoo uncomfortable

From the statement we can see that Yahoo knows clearly what it’s doing, and knows clearly what kind of regime it’s cooperating with. Yahoo knows it’s guilty to provide user  information to Chinese censor which caused arrest of those people, but still it will follow the censor’s order and continue to do the bad thing.

That’s why Yahoo should be punished- knowing it’s bad but still do bad, knowing it’s evil but still do evil –  it’s much worse than those who have no idea of bad or evil.

It’s an certain  result that Yahoo’s site itself is also being blocked by China. The Chinese communist regime never care about companies like Yahoo, when Yahoo begun to follow the regime’s order completely, it lost it’s value.

There’s an old Chinese  adage, “good will be rewarded by good, evil will be returned by evil”, which is exactly matchs Yahoo’s situation.

So, for Yahoo,  doing good, get ride of bad completely, is the only way to solve the problem.

Posted in censorship, China, Company, Human Rights, Law, News, Opinion, Politics, Social, Speech, World, Yahoo | 1 Comment »

Yahoo sued by 2nd Jailed Journalist in China

Posted by Author on June 11, 2007


By AFP, 11 June 2007, from Myadsl.co.za –

The mother of a Chinese journalist serving a 10-year jail sentence on Sunday called for US Internet giant Yahoo to be penalised for handing authorities the information that led to his conviction.

Shi Tao was convicted of divulging state secrets after he posted a Chinese government order forbidding media organisations from marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising on the Internet. Police identified him using information provided by Yahoo.

Shi’s mother, Gao Qinsheng, told a press conference she hoped Yahoo would be punished for its actions.

Her comments came after Shi’s name was added to a lawsuit filed against Yahoo and its Hong Kong subsidiary in the United States by another Chinese cyberdissident, Wang Xiaoning.

Information provided by Yahoo was also used to convict Wang, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for “incitement to subvert state power”. The two are suing the company for breach of their human rights.

Hong Kong legislator and pro-democracy campaigner Albert Ho, who has campaigned on the issue, said the case could become a class action lawsuit.

Lawyers believe information provided by Yahoo has enabled Chinese authorities to convict at least four journalists and campaigners.

Ho, who became involved after Shi’s mother approached him for help, said he had also filed an appeal against a ruling by the Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner that Yahoo did not breach Shi’s rights.

“It is academic really because Shi Tao is in prison. But we want to seek some redress against Yahoo,” said Ho.

The US corporation defends its action on the grounds that it has to comply with China’s laws to operate there.

In an emotional address, Gao said her son was a dedicated journalist who had been victimised by the authorities.

She was in Hong Kong on her way back from South Africa, where she collected a press freedom award on behalf of her son.

She said he had been kept under close surveillance in jail and had suffered skin disease and stomach problems, although he appeared in good spirits.

The 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre remains one of the most taboo subjects in China, where the official line is that authorities put down the “political disturbance” to safeguard economic and social stability.

This week three top editors of a Chinese newspaper were sacked over the publication of an advert saluting the mothers of victims of the massacre.

AFP
original report from Myadsl.co.za 

Posted in Albert Ho, Asia, censorship, China, Company, email, Hong kong, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, June 4, Law, News, People, Politics, Shi Tao, Social, Speech, Technology, Tiananmen, USA, World, Yahoo | 1 Comment »

Yahoo Sued For Providing Private User Data To China Authority

Posted by Author on April 20, 2007


By Adam Tanner, Reuters, Apr 18, 2007-

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A Chinese couple sued Yahoo and its Chinese affiliates on Wednesday, alleging the Internet firms provided information that helped the Chinese government prosecute the man for his Internet writings.

Wang Xiaoning was sentenced to ten years in prison last year for “incitement to subvert state power” after he e-mailed electronic journals advocating democratic reform and a multi-party system.

His house and computer were searched in 2002.

In the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for Northern California, Wang and his wife Yu Ling charged the Internet firms turned over details to prosecutors that helped identify him to authorities.

“While in custody, Plaintiffs were subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, including arbitrary, prolonged and indefinite detention, for expressing their free speech rights and for using the Internet to communicate about democracy and human rights matters,” the filing said.

The suit, advanced by the World Organization for Human Rights USA, based in Washington D.C., said Yahoo benefited financially by working with authorities. China is the world’s second largest Internet market.

“Defendants had every reason to know and understand that the electronic communication user information they provided to authorities could well be used to assist in the infliction of such abuses as arbitrary arrest, torture, cruel, inhuman or other degrading threat and prolonged detention and/or forced labor,” it said.

In a statement, Yahoo said it was distressed that Chinese citizens had been sent to prison for expressing their views on the Internet.

“However, the concerns raised about the Chinese government compelling companies to follow Chinese law and disclose user information are not new,” it said. “Companies doing business in China must comply with Chinese law or its local employees could be faced with civil and criminal penalties.”

The lawsuit came on a day Yahoo shares fell more than 11 percent after the Internet firm’s earnings announced on Tuesday fell below expectations.

The suit names Yahoo, its Hong Kong subsidiary and Alibaba.com, China’s largest e-commerce firm, as defendants. California-based Yahoo bought a 40 percent stake in Alibaba for $1 billion in a 2005 deal.

Yahoo said the U.S. government should seek to lobby for political prisoners in China.

“We call on the U.S. Department of State to continue making this issue of free expression a priority in bilateral and multilateral forums with the Chinese, as well as through other tools of trade and diplomacy, in order to help secure the freedom of these dissidents,” the firm said.

– original from Reuters: Chinese couple sues Yahoo for man’s imprisonment

Related:

Chinese Dissident’s Wife Arrive in US to Sue Yahoo, 07 March 2007

Posted in China, City resident, Company, Dissident, Economy, email, Human Rights, Internet, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, Speech, USA, World, Yahoo | 3 Comments »

Chinese Dissident’s Wife Arrive in US to Sue Yahoo

Posted by Author on March 10, 2007


By VOA News, 07 March 2007-

The wife of a Chinese dissident jailed for publishing articles on the Internet says she plans to sue U.S.-based Internet company Yahoo for allegedly helping to put her husband in jail in China.

Speaking with VOA’s Mandarin Service Wednesday after arriving in Washington, said Chinese police arrested her husband Wang Xiaoning, partly because Yahoo’s Hong Kong office gave Chinese authorities information about his e-mail accounts.

Yu Ling said she has come to the United States to sue the company for damages and to demand an apology.

In 2003, Wang was sentenced to 10 years in prison for publishing what China’s government called “subversive” articles on the Internet.

In recent years, human rights groups have accused Yahoo of providing Chinese authorities with information that has led to the imprisonment of several dissidents.

Yahoo and other Internet companies say they have to obey Chinese laws to do business there. They also say that their operations in China benefit millions of people who otherwise would have no Internet access.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders says China has imprisoned at least 50 individuals, including Wang Xiaoning, for their activities on the Internet.

original from VOA News

Related:
How Yahoo assist Government Censorship in China, Human Rights Watch

Posted in China, Company, Dissident, email, Human Rights, Internet, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, Speech, USA, Women, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on Chinese Dissident’s Wife Arrive in US to Sue Yahoo

WAN Rejects China’s Request to Withdraw Award to Chinese Journalist

Posted by Author on March 9, 2007


The World Association of Newspapers, France, 8 March 2007-

Paris- The World Association of Newspapers has rejected a request by the China Newspaper Association to withdraw a prestigious press freedom prize that was awarded to journalist Shi Tao, who was imprisoned for writing about restrictions on the media in the run-up to the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The China Newspaper Association had protested to WAN against the decision to award the 2007 WAN Golden Pen of Freedom to Mr Shi, claiming that the Chinese court “handled the case according to law and made the appropriate sentence” and that the Chinese constitution protects press freedom.

In rejecting the request, WAN CEO Timothy Balding said: “We are not at all impressed by the fact that this and other cases were dealt with ’according to the law’ and by courts. If the law does indeed make it possible to send a journalist to jail in such a case, the law should be abolished without delay, since it would be in contradiction with every conceivable international standard and convention on freedom of information and human rights.”

“The Chinese constitution may well, as you note, guarantee the ’people’s freedom of speech as well as press freedom’,” Mr Balding said in a letter to the Chinese association. “Unfortunately, this guarantee is a mere fiction and such freedoms simply don’t exist in China, as I’m sure you are perfectly aware. Indeed, if they did, Shi Tao would not be in prison today and nor would dozens of other journalists.”

Mr Shi is serving a 10-year sentence on charges of “leaking state secrets” for writing an e-mail about media restrictions in the run-up to the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 2004. The e-mail was picked up by several overseas internet portals — and also by Chinese authorities, with the assistance of Yahoo. The internet service provider gave state security authorities details of Mr Shi’s e-mail usage that ultimately allowed them to trace the message to a computer he used at the newspaper where he worked, the Dangdai Shang Bao (Contemporary Business News).

“It is completely absurd to characterize Shi Tao’s actions as leaking state secrets,” Mr Balding said. “He distributed information about censorship orders given out to the media by the Propaganda Department. The orders instructed them how to cover the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen events. Are such orders perhaps the freedom of the press that your constitution allegedly protects? No, of course not, which is why Shi Tao took the courageous decision, which any professional reporter in a democracy would also do, to disseminate this information.

“I must add, frankly, that we are greatly disappointed that your organization, which is supposed to represent newspapers and to protect their interests, finds that sending a reporter to jail for 10 years is ’an appropriate sentence’, ” said Mr Balding, who provided the Chinese association with details of the cases of Mr Shi and eight of the many other journalists imprisoned in China.

Read the full exchange between the China Newspaper Association and WAN here.

The Golden Pen of Freedom will be awarded to Mr Shi at the 60th World Newspaper Congress, 14th World Editors Forum and Info Services Expo 2007, to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 3 to 6 June. More than 1,500 newspaper publishers, chief editors and other senior newspaper executives are expected to attend the events, the global meetings of the world’s press (www.wan-press.org/capetown2007).

The Golden Pen of Freedom is WAN’s annual award recognising individuals or organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to the defence and promotion of press freedom. More about the award and its laureates can be found here.

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom world-wide. It represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 76 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and 10 regional and world-wide press groups.

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, WAN, 7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail: lkilman@wan.asso.fr

original report from The World Association of Newspapers

Posted in censorship, China, Company, email, Europe, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, Law, Media, News, Newspaper, People, Politics, Shi Tao, Social, Speech, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on WAN Rejects China’s Request to Withdraw Award to Chinese Journalist

China 2006 Year In Review

Posted by Author on January 1, 2007


By John Kusumi, China Support Network

From a China Support Network perspective, what happened this year? 2006 was “Tuidang, Year 2.”

Tuidang refers to a campaign, ever more insistent, urging all Chinese to quit from the Chinese Communist Party and related organs; and more broadly, for China on the whole to leave behind the CCP. In 2005, “Tuidang, Year 1,” 7 million people quit the Communist Party. In 2006, 10 million people quit the CCP, for a total of 17 million resignation statements — all posted at the Tuidang web site.

The tires have been slashed on China’s Communist Party, and it is increasingly unpopular. Those ten million resignations represent excellent news and “the air going out of the tires.” Yet, a few more events happened this year, allowing us to claim 10 million and change. The type of change that we would really like to see is China’s transition to a democratic, post-communist regime; throughout this year, however, the CCP regime remained stubbornly in place, continuing its Maoist ways of persecution, crimes against humanity, corruption, and propaganda.

In the United States, bought off politicians continued to be bought off; and sold out news media spin doctors continued to be sold out.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper became “half a hero” with his reporting about Organ Tourism; only half a hero, because he managed to render that report and not breathe one word about Falun Gong persecution. He went half way towards breaking our story. (One and a half cheers for Anderson Cooper!) The number of confirmed deaths in the Falun Gong persecution now stands at 2,989, soon to surpass CSN’s estimate of 3,001 dead in the Tiananmen crackdown.

The confirmed deaths will be smaller than the number of actual deaths, due to the difficulty of getting reports from within a tyranny that likes to hide its crimes and corruption — and which holds the levers of state media inside China.

Our big story which broke this year (yet, not on U.S. national TV) dates back to March 9, 2006. That is when the Epoch Times first article appeared, with word of a concentration camp at a medical facility in the Sujiatun district of Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, China. The concentration camp was said to hold Falun Gong practitioners, who were kept as a living organ bank for profitable transplant surgery, which would be performed at the medical facility. Call it organ theft. Call it people farming. Call it organ harvesting. And, call it a genocidal crime against humanity. This practice means that transplants are clearly involuntary, coming from prisoners of conscience who should never be imprisoned in the first place. Falun Gong practitioners do not raise their hands and volunteer to be executed — we should remember that this is genocidal persecution in the first place. The transplants may occur from people who are still alive as their organs are removed; after surgery, bodies are cremated to remove the evidence.

This means that when CNN’s Anderson Cooper, as noted above, reported about Organ Tourism without the matter of Falun Gong practitioners, he didn’t report the darker, sinister, more ugly, sickening “other side of the coin.”

On March 9, the same day I first heard about it, I blogged: “Even though this news is huge and as large as it gets (China vaults into a class with Nazi Germany, and there may be Olympic boycotts if not loss of the Olympics all together), I anticipate the story will grow larger in the sense of a news story. The rising clatter must rise still further, and consequences may ensue for China’s relations with the rest of the world. Suffice it to say, it’s big.” Now, over nine months later, I continue to stand by my initial assessment.

In addition to the allegations about Sujiatun, more word came about organ harvesting as a widespread practice, undertaken at many other facilities.

The news of this medical abuse and flagrant human rights abuse is what drove Wenyi Wang to become the loud protester, from the press gallery, on the South Lawn of the White House — in the April 20 welcoming ceremony for PRC President Hu Jintao. Hers was “the shout heard round the world,” a high profile occasion due to the world stage and presence of international media. In addition to being an Epoch Times reporter, Wenyi was already familiar to me as a vigorous rights campaigner, and organizer of prior activism. What I did not know on April 19 was her background as a medical doctor. That background added credibility and gravity to her charges about the regime’s practice, and with the newfound attention, Wenyi became a widely traveled, and much interviewed, speaker in behalf of the cause. While U.S. national TV did very little about following up (I saw CNN’s Wolf Blitzer seem to scold her like a headmaster), Wenyi was able to make a tour of various ADIs (U.S. cities), and thereby reach a very wide audience through affiliate and local media. (Heck, I’ve spent about 25 years “going around” the nationals of the news media. I know how it’s done, and I sympathize with Wenyi Wang.)

Getting the word out is within the scope of the mission at the China Support Network. This year, Wenyi Wang was not the only one doing the “end around” of U.S. national TV.

I am naming David Kilgour and David Matas to be the China Suport Network’s “Men of the Year.” Why so? Kilgour and Matas stepped up to the plate, independently investigated, and released their “Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China.” Their findings served as independent confirmation: the allegations are true. They conclude “that there has been and continues today to be large-scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners.”

David Kilgour is a former Member of Parliament in Canada, and was Secretary of State for the Asia Pacific region. David Matas is an international human rights attorney. With their political and legal backgrounds, they would know better than to be casual or inexact with public statements. While they knew the stakes in international relations, and while they knew the enormity of the charges against Communist China, they nonetheless undertook to inform the world of their findings. Their tour, to 26 countries, was another way to “end around” the ersatz journalists of U.S. national TV.

They get to be Men of the Year here — first for taking on the case; second for integrity and courage in standing by their findings; and third for raising awareness, breaking an information blockade, and putting to shame U.S. national TV.

Can we gauge the results of their media efforts? Yes, by asking, “How is their clip sheet doing?” From May 9 to December 20 of this year, their web site shows 194 clips in the English language. 129 news outlets were represented, of which 31 ran more than one article. That means that the story has caught the attention to be “followed,” and actively followed up, at 31 outlets. The Epoch Times is clearly the most active, and we can say that it is the newspaper of record in the China-rights community. The other 30 outlets are–

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (8), The Calgary Herald (6), The Globe and Mail (4), National Post (4), Ottawa Citizen (4), Sydney Morning Herald (4), CBC News (3), China Post (3), NZ Scoop (3), St. Louis Post-Dispatch (3), The Christian Science Monitor (3), The Ottawa Citizen (3), The Toronto Sun (3), Abbotsford News (2), AFP (2), Asia News (2), Canadian Christianity (2), Chronicle Herald (2), CounterPunch (2), Cowichan Valley News Leader (2), CTV (2), Free Market News (2), Langley Times (2), South China Morning Post (2), Taipei Times (2), The Halifax Daily News (2), The Leader-Post (2), The Vancouver Sun (2), Times Colonist (2), Victoria News (2).

The single-mention outlets are a wide variety, including the Times of India, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun, the Chicago Tribune, the Irish Medical Times, the Guardian, and the Washington Times.

Who is missing from this list? United States opinion leaders are missing — the Associated Press, UPI, New York Times, and Washington Post. ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and CNN. There is no sign of these news outlets in the list. Should we write them off as anti-Falun Gong media? Or as closer to Jiang Zemin than to freedom and democracy? Well, suffice it to say that REAL journalists know about our story, and that ersatz journalists continue to live in denial. I truly thank David Kilgour and David Matas, as well as Wenyi Wang, for their work in 2006 to “end around” the minority of journalists who are sticks in the mud. Everyone else knows about China’s crimes against humanity; the last to know will be Brian Williams (NBC News anchorman) and Jacques Rogge (IOC President, who cannot be happy as this story tarnishes the Olympics).

The year includes its share of outrages — sentences meted out to rights lawyers and campaigners by China’s [in]”justice” system.

Notably, lawyer Gao Zhisheng was arrested on August 15 and released on December 22. He has the relative leniency of house arrest, because Beijing has begun its pre-Olympics charm offensive. There will continue to be efforts to rescue him in 2007, and some chance that Gao will exit from China and reach exile.

To well review 2006, it is important to note that EU / European Parliament Vice President, Edward Scott-McMillan, also stepped up this year and made a fact-finding trip into China. He is alarmed by the human rights conditions of China, and he is joining a chorus of voices against the Beijing Olympics, slated to be held there in 2008. It used to be that U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) seemed to be alone as a politician who also campaigned in our cause. This year, she is joined by David Kilgour (Canadian) and Edward McMillan-Scott (British). And this year, Nancy Pelosi herself gained new stature, as the incoming Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

This year end review is showing us that by several measures — resignations from the CCP; politician attention; and, media attention — that our cause is making headway or accelerating. It is arriving at critical mass just prior to the Olympics, which in itself is certain to whip up activists.

Also this year, Microsoft, Cisco, Yahoo, and Google came under fire for assisting the police state in China, with technology that ends up in “the great firewall of China” — internet censorship that also enables the authorities’ internet crackdown.

2006 had one more high note and one more sour note. The high note is that a music video, “Remember Tiananmen Square” appeared, from the rock band NoManZero. The sour note is that the U.S. Congress passed another “PNTR for dictators” bill, this time for Communist Vietnam. The Vietnam trade deal had to be passed, late at night on the last day of the session, by the 109th Congress, because there would be no market for it in the 110th Congress. The new Democratic Congress features “rising protectionist sentiment,” where PNTR becomes an impossibly hard sell.

That trade deal means bad things for America, but that is a topic for another column. As it stands, our cause had a good year 2006, and we look forward to an even better 2007. 2007 will feature the 18th anniversary of Tiananmen Square’s massacre. –That is exactly one generation later. I hope we will use this year’s anniversary to remember the event (for older folks) and to introduce the event (for younger folks). There is a rising new generation, that needs the introduction that explains how our China rights cause became urgent — and globally known — in the first place.

This 18th anniversary will be a time for educating people, in advance of the Beijing Olympics that are slated for August, 2008. To all of the campaigners in this cause, I offer kudos, congratulations, and solidarity. Some very good work was done this year, and more is to follow, as ever! Thank yous, and Happy New Year, to one and all who carry on the work of freeing China! :-)
——

China Support Network (CSN)– Begun as the American response group in 1989, CSN represents Americans who are “on the side” of the students in Tiananmen Square – standing for democratic reform, human rights, and freedom in China. For dissident news; to support a stronger China policy; or get more information, see http://www.chinasupport.net

John Kusumi, The first Generation X politician and Ronald Reagan’s youngest political opponent, John Kusumi was the 18-year-old running for U.S. President in 1984. (Independent / Practical Idealist) He later formed the China Support Network (CSN) when his age-group peers were massacred at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the site of a student-led pro-democracy uprising in 1989. He remains Director emeritus of CSN, an accomplished speaker, and widely published on matters of the Chinese democracy movement, where leading Chinese dissidents call upon him as an ally. See http://Kusumi.com

Posted in all Hot Topic, Asia, Canada, China, Communist Party, Company, Crime against humanity, David Kilgour, David Matas, Falun Gong, Gao Zhisheng, Google, Human Rights, Internet, Law, Lawyer, Media, Microsoft, News, Newspaper, Opinion, Organ harvesting, Party withdrawal, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Report, search engine, Social, TV / film, website, World, Yahoo | 3 Comments »

Wikipedia defies China’s censors

Posted by Author on September 10, 2006


David Smith and Jo Revill, The Observer, September 10, 2006–

The founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia written by its users, has defied the Chinese government by refusing to bow to censorship of politically sensitive entries.

Jimmy Wales, one of the 100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine, challenged other internet companies, including Google, to justify their claim that they could do more good than harm by co-operating with Beijing.

Wikipedia, a hugely popular reference tool in the West, has been banned from China since last October. Whereas Google, Microsoft and Yahoo went into the country accepting some restrictions on their online content, Wales believes it must be all or nothing for Wikipedia.

His stand comes as Irrepressible.info, a joint campaign by The Observer and Amnesty International for free speech on the web, continues with the support of more than 37,000 people around the world. The campaign calls on governments to stop persecuting political bloggers and on IT companies to stop complying with these repressive regimes.

‘We’re really unclear why we would be [banned],’ Wales told The Observer. ‘We have internal rules about neutrality and deleting personal attacks and things like this. We’re far from being a haven for dissidents or a protest site. So our view is that the block is in error and should be removed, but we shall see.’

Wales said censorship was ‘ antithetical to the philosophy of Wikipedia. We occupy a position in the culture that I wish Google would take up, which is that we stand for the freedom for information, and for us to compromise I think would send very much the wrong signal: that there’s no one left on the planet who’s willing to say “You know what? We’re not going to give up.”‘

Wikipedia’s entry on the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 includes the government’s official claim that 200-300 died and the Chinese student associations and Chinese Red Cross’s estimate of 2,000-3,000 deaths. (more details from The Observer article)

Related:
Undermining freedom of expression in China, AI, July 2006

Posted in China, Falun Gong, Google, Microsoft, News, Politics, Social, Speech, Technology, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on Wikipedia defies China’s censors

EU-CHINA Summit: China Human Rights Situation Remains Disturbing

Posted by Author on September 6, 2006


Amnesty International, Brussels, 7 September 2006–

Despite the commitment made at last year’s Summit to protect and promote human rights, China continues to engage in practices that involve gross human rights violations, says Amnesty International ahead of the EU-China Summit on 9 September. In a briefing paper (available at http://www.amnesty-eu.org) the organization presented its main human rights concerns to the EU.

“The EU needs to make China understand that its international credibility is affected when it does not match promises with actions. China’s indifference to its commitments is a type of defiance towards international opinion which the EU cannot ignore”, said Dick Oosting, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office.

The widespread use of the death penalty in China remains a key concern. The exact number of executions in 2005 is a mystery. The organization’s findings point to 1,770 but it could be as high as 10,000.

Prisoners are executed by shooting, usually to the back of the head. Increasingly, deaths sentences are also carried out with “mobile execution vans” by lethal injection, a practice which Amnesty International is concerned may facilitate the extraction of organs from executed prisoners.

The authorities have taken no steps to reform or abolish the provisions of Chinese criminal law which are frequently used to arbitrarily arrest lawyers, journalists and human rights activists. Thousands of people continue to be held without charge or trial in “Re-education through Labour” facilities, up to four years. Torture and ill-treatment also persist.

Censorship and a general crackdown on the media has continued over this past year, assisted by international internet companies such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. This raises serious doubts over China’s commitments to ensure “complete media freedom” at the Beijing Olympics.

In a letter to EU leaders, Amnesty International also raised the fact that despite China’s growing influence in international affairs, it has failed to assume the responsibilities of such a role. Emerging as a major arms producer, China refrains from entering multilateral agreements that set out criteria to guide arms export controls.

“The sale of military equipment by Beijing to Sudan is a practical example of a foreign policy that flouts human rights. Through these sales, instead of helping to search for peace, China is effectively fuelling violence in Darfur”, said Oosting.

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EU-China trade must not forget human rights, MEP says

Posted by Author on August 31, 2006


EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS, 31.08.2006 – As European trade with China – the world’s fastest growing economy – is on the increase, MEPs are preparing a report urging EU governments to make sure business goes hand-in-hand with human rights and environmental improvements.

In his forthcoming report to be voted on next week, Dutch MEP Bastiaan Belder from the Independence/Democracy group urges the European Commission and EU governments to formulate a “consistent and coherent policy” toward China.

After EU enlargement in 2004, the European bloc overtook Japan and became China’s largest trading partner while China is the EU’s second largest after the US.

While acknowledging the importance of the growing economic relationship between the EU and the People’s Republic, Mr Belder stresses that it should go hand-in-hand with human rights reforms, political freedom as well as environmental friendly policies.

The report also strongly recommends that the EU arms embargo against China remain intact until greater progress is made on human rights issues.

The arms ban was put in place by the EU following the violent crackdown by China’s communist regime against pro-democracy protestors on Beijing’s Tiananmen square in 1989, which left more than 2,000 civilians dead, according to Chinese Red Cross numbers.

But many agree with Mr Belder that there is a “lack of progress in the EU-China human rights dialogue”, which is meant to be part of the EU-China relationship.

“The main problem is that it is parked in the corner,” said Olivier Schott from Amnesty International’s EU office. “The human rights dialogue is disconnected from the main political discussions.”

Last year France and Germany pushed for lifting the embargo but did not get enough support from other member states.

At the same time, Beijing’s anti-secession law, which threatens Taiwan, confirmed some EU capitals’ concern for what Chinam might do with European-made weapons.

The MEP’s report calls for Taiwan to be allowed better representation in international fora and organisations, “to put an end to the on-going unfair exclusion of 23 million people [the Taiwanese] from the international community.”

Internet companies Google and Yahoo are strongly criticised in the document for their “irresponsible policies” for having “bowed directly and indirectly to Chinese government demands for censorship.”

The internet’s biggest search engine company Google followed the Chinese government’s request of not letting China-based users access websites containing critical elements and words such as “Taiwan”, “independence”, “Tibet” and “Tiananmen.”

The report also urges the EU to engage more actively with other western nations regarding China’s future, such as the US.

Mr Belder “encourages the European Union and its member states to develop, together with the USA, strategic consensus for dealing with China.”

His report comes just a week before the annual EU-China Summit (10-11 September) with European and Asian heads of state to discuss issues such as climate change, energy security, globalisation and competitiveness.

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