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NET-GOLD  November 2007

NET-GOLD November 2007

Subject:

(RSF) - UNITED STATES / CHINA - YAHOO! TO TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS: A CHANCE FOR TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ON BUSINESS PRACTICES IN CHINA

From:

"David P. Dillard" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Net Gold Listserv List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 3 Nov 2007 11:13:15 -0400

Content-Type:

MULTIPART/MIXED

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (192 lines)



Date: Sat, 3 Nov 2007 01:22:10 -0400 (EDT)
From: George Lessard <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [Net-Gold] (RSF) - UNITED STATES / CHINA - YAHOO! TO TESTIFY BEFORE
     CONGRESS : A CHANCE FOR TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ON BUSINESS
     PRACTICES IN CHINA



Subject: (RSF) - UNITED STATES / CHINA - YAHOO! TO TESTIFY BEFORE
CONGRESS : A CHANCE FOR TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ON BUSINESS
PRACTICES IN CHINA
From: "RSF - Clothilde Le Coz" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Fri, November 2, 2007 14:26


English/ French
Reporters without borders
Press release

UNITED STATES / CHINA

YAHOO! TO TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS : A CHANCE FOR TRANSPARENCY AND
ACCOUNTABILITY ON BUSINESS PRACTICES IN CHINA
Reporters Without Borders asked Yahoo! today to take advantage of the
November 6 Congress hearing to set the record straight on the company’s
collaboration with the Chinese authorities. Congress is investigating
sworn statements Yahoo! made during a February 2006 Congress hearing
regarding its role in cyberdissident Shi Tao’s arrest and conviction on
a charge of “illegally divulging state secrets abroad,” for which he
was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
“Yahoo!’s confused statements must finally be clarified,” the press
freedom organization said. “The time for lamentations is over. The
company has now to accept the consequences of its mistakes and to act
accordingly. At least four cyberdissidents were thrown in jail because
of data provided by Yahoo! to the Chinese police. We would be
particularly interested in the disclosure of the number of information
requests with which Yahoo! complied, whether they concern any of the 32
jailed journalists or of the 50 people currently behind bars for
expressing themselves freely on the Internet, and how such requests are
being processed within the company. This hearing is a chance for Yahoo!
not only to show more transparency, but also to discuss the practical
steps the company intends to take to prevent its future involvement in
dissidents’ arrests.”

Announcing the investigation on August 3, House of Representatives
Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos said it would be shameful
if it were confirmed that Yahoo! had known why the Chinese police
requested the information that enabled them to arrest Shi. “Covering up
such a despicable practice when Congress seeks an explanation is a
serious offense,” Lantos said, adding that, “for a firm engaged in the
information industry, Yahoo! sure has a lot of secrecy to answer for.
We expect to learn the truth, and to hold the company to account.”
Yahoo! executive vice president and general counsel Michael Callahan
told the US House Foreign Affairs Committee in February, 2006, "We had
no information about the nature of the investigation." He was
referring to the one targeting Shi Tao, which the Chinese authorities
began in 2004. But in fact, China’s Department of State Security sent
Yahoo! a document dated April 22, 2004, explaining that the authorities
wanted information about an Internet user suspected of “illegally
providing state secrets to foreign institutions.”

Michael Callahan apologised on November 1st for failing to tell US
lawmakers that Yahoo knew more about the case than he initially
acknowledged in testimony last year. “Months after I testified before
two House subcommittees on Yahoo’s approach to business in China, I
realized Yahoo had additional information about a 2004 order issued by
the Chinese government seeking information about a Yahoo China user,”
Mr Callahan said in a statement. “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. According to the Financial
Times, 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.
Yahoo! Hong Kong’s cooperation with the police is mentioned in the
Chinese court’s verdict against these four cyberdissidents:

- Shi Tao (see above);
- Wang Xiaoning, 55: sentenced to ten years in prison in September 2003
for posting “subversive” articles online;
- Li Zhi, 35, sentenced on December 2003 to eight years in prison for
“inciting subversion.” He had been arrested the previous August after
criticizing, in online discussion groups and articles, the corruptive
practices of local officials;
- Pro-democracy activist Jiang Lijun, freed on November 5 after
completing a four-year sentence. Convicted of “inciting the subversion
of state authorities” following his arrest in 2002, police considered
him to be the head of a small group of cyberdissidents, and had
arrested him several times before for posting political articles
online.
-------------------------------------------
ETATS UNIS / CHINE

A LA VEILLE DU TEMOIGNAGE DE YAHOO! DEVANT LE CONGRES, REPORTERS SANS
FRONTIERES DEMANDE QUE TOUT LA LUMIERE SOIT ENFIN FAITE SUR LA
COLLABORATION DE L'ENTREPRISE AMERICAINE AVEC LA POLICE CHINOISE

Reporters sans frontières demande aujourd'hui à Yahoo! de faire toute
la lumière sur ses relations avec les autorités chinoises. Le 6
novembre 2007, le Congrès américain entendra Jerry Yang, le PDG de
l'entreprise concernant le faux témoignage qu'il lui a fourni sur
l'implication de son entreprise dans l'arrestation du cyberdissident
chinois Shi Tao, condamné à 10 ans de prison en 2003 pour "divulgation
de secret d'Etat à l'étranger" par les autorités.

"La justification confuse de Yahoo! lors de sa dernière audience devant
le Congrès, le 27 février 2006, doit être clarifiée. L'entreprise doit
accepter les conséquences de ses erreurs. Au moins quatre
cyberdissidents sont derrière les barreaux car Yahoo! a fourni des
renseignements sur eux à la police chinoise. Nous aimerions connaître
jusqu'où Yahoo! a obéi aux ordres des autorités chinoises et combien de
personnes sont concernées parmi les 32 journalistes et les 50
cyberdissidents emprisonnés dans le pays. Cette audience est l'occasion
pour Yahoo! de montrer plus de transparence dans ses pratiques et de
s'expliquer sur l'implication qu'elle compte avoir dans les
arrestations de dissidents à l'avenir", a déclaré Reporters sans
frontières.

Le vice-président du groupe Yahoo!, Michael Callahan, avait affirmé au
Congrès en février 2006 que l'entreprise "n'avait aucune idée de la
nature de l'investigation" menée par les autorités chinoises, en
faisant allusion à celle qui portait depuis 2004 sur le blogueur Shi
Tao. En réalité, le Département chinois de la sécurité de l'Etat, a
envoyé un document à Yahoo le 22 avril 2004, dans lequel les autorités
demandaient des informations sur un compte précis, suspecté de
"divulgation de secret d'Etat hors des frontières".

"S'il s'avère que Yahoo! connaissait les tenants et les aboutissants de
cette demande des autorités, le groupe se trouverait dans une situation
fort délicate. Masquer un comportement aussi méprisable serait une
offense au Congrès" a déclaré Tom Lantos, le responsable du comité des
affaires étrangères de la Chambre des représentants. "Pour une
entreprise engagée dans l'industrie de l'information, il serait malvenu
de garder autant de mystère autour de cette affaire. Nous espérons
entendre la vérité" a-t-il poursuivi.

Le 1er novembre 2007, Michael Callahan s'est excusé auprès du Congrès.
"Plusieurs mois après avoir témoigné sur les ambitions commerciales de
Yahoo en Chine devant le comité des affaires étrangères, j'ai réalisé
que l'entreprise avait plus d'informations que moi concernant le
document d'avril 2004" a-t-il affirmé. "J'ai négligé l'ampleur de cette
information et n'en ai pas alerté le comité. Je regrette profondément
le malentendu auquel cela a mené et m'excuse auprès du comité" a-t-il
déclaré. D'après le quotidien britannique Financial Times, il devrait
fournir les preuves qu'un avocat de Yahoo! en Asie a oublié de lui
notifier cet ordre des autorités chinoises car ce dernier estimait
qu'il n'était pas important.

La collaboration de Yahoo! Hong Kong avec la police est mise en avant
concernant les quatre cyberdissidents suivants :
- Shi Tao (voir plus haut)
- Wang Xiaoning, 55 ans : condamné à dix ans de prison en septembre
2003 pour avoir publié des articles "subversifs" sur Internet
- Li Zhi, 35 ans : condamné à huit ans de prison en décembre 2003 pour
"incitation à la subversion". Il a avait déjà été arrêté en août pour
avoir qualifié les pratiques des hommes politiques locaux de
"mafieuses" sur des forums de discussions et dans des articles sur
Internet
- Jiang Lijun, activiste en faveur de la démocratie : libéré le 5
novembre 2006 après quatre ans de prison. Il avait été condamné pour
"incitation à la subversion des autorités de l'Etat" en 2002. Selon la
police, qui l'avait déjà arrêté plusieurs fois à cause de ses
publications sur le Net, il était le chef de file d'un groupe de
cyberdissidents.
----------------------------------------------------

Clothilde Le Coz

"Don't wait to be deprived of news to stand up and fight for it"


Internet Freedom Desk
Reporters without borders

47, rue Vivienne
75002 PARIS

Tel : +33 (0)1 44 83 84 71
Fax : +33 (0)1 45 23 51 11

www.rsf.org
Create your own blog with rsfblog.




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