Thursday, September 22, 2005

Yahoo! and Human Rights Repression in China

The story of Yahoo's complicity in the arrest of a Chinese journalist has created an uproar among human rights and business watchdogs. Shi Tao, a journalist with the Contemporary Trade News in Hunan, was convicted for e-mailing comments made in a newspaper staff meeting to a democracy group in New York. His IP address was provided to the Chinese authorities by Yahoo!.

Yahoo! argued that foreign companies operating in China have no choice but to respect local laws and "customs".

The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, a research website set up by Amnesty International and various academic and business organizations, has an update on the case that raises many legal issues.

The update includes an article from the San Francisco Chronicle that discusses how foreign Internet firms can resist Chinese government pressures, an official response from Yahoo! on the incident, as well as critical commentaries by 3 human rights experts:

  • Mary Robinson, Chair of Business & Human Rights Resource Centre’s International Advisory Network, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, former President of Ireland
  • Sir Geoffrey Chandler, Founding Chair of Amnesty International UK Business Group
  • Nicholas Howen, Secretary-General, International Commission of Jurists

On a somewhat related note, the organization Reporters Without Borders has released a free Handbook forBloggers and Cyber-Dissidents with tips on how to sneak past Internet censors and the secret police in countries from China to Iran (as well as Western Internet companies investing there too).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:52 pm


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