Friday, March 03, 2006

Yahoo helps track down and arrest Chinese dissidents

A Chinese dissident is in jail because Yahoo! went out of their way to cooperate with tracking them down.

Please take action.

“Yahoo! sold its soul and is a national disgrace.” - Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, February 19, 2006

Dear [subscriber to AI list],

Everything about the Internet company Yahoo! screams fun – from the name itself to the bright purple colors, to the endless array of online services and distractions. Around the world they are associated with creativity, innovation and the free flow of ideas.

I think that’s why it is so shocking to learn that Yahoo! has colluded with the repressive Chinese government to help identify Internet dissidents who were subsequently thrown in jail.

I urge you to join me today by expressing outrage at Yahoo!’s participation in human rights abuses in China.

The details are shocking. Investigations by Amnesty International and others show that:

• At the Chinese government’s request Yahoo! routinely censors search engine results in China -- without disclosing that the censorship has happened.

• Yahoo!-disclosed private user information has allegedly been used to persecute at least three political dissidents in China.

• In one case, that of journalist Shi Tao, information turned over by Yahoo! was submitted as evidence in a trial that ended in a 10-year prison sentence. A primary piece of evidence was a private email Mr. Shi sent to the United States from his Yahoo! email account.

We don’t really know how many voices have been silenced through Yahoo!’s collusion, or how many people have been rounded up. What we do know, and why we need your help, is that Yahoo! cannot hide behind the supposed realpolitik of working in China.

Recent examinations of four American Internet technology companies operating in China– Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft, and Cisco -- suggest that Yahoo! has most actively aided repressive forces in China, by helping to jail political dissidents.

New York Times columnist and consistent voice for human rights Nicholas Kristof concludes “Yahoo! sold its soul and is a national disgrace.”

Yahoo! is not immune to public condemnation. Your demands for change will get the Internet giant’s attention.

Amnesty demands that Yahoo! use its influence to secure prisoner of conscience Shi Tao's release and to stop any actions that could undermine human rights in any country in which it operates.

Every voice makes a difference. Please take action today.

Thanks for all you do.

Bill Schulz

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