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Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang speaks in front of the parents of a jailed journalist  (Source: AP)
Yahoo executives again receive abuse over the company's role in Chinese politics

Two Yahoo officials yesterday went to Capitol Hill to defend Yahoo's actions regarding the jailing of Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist accused of leaking state secrets. Tao is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence stemming from pro-democracy efforts that landed him in hot water.

Republicans and Democrats grilled Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and Yahoo general counsel Michael Callahan during the three-hour session over Yahoo's actions in China.

"While technologically and financially you are giants, morally you are Pygmies," said Rep. Tom Lantos, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman.

With Tao's family sitting in attendance, Yang apologized to the family and the committee, while promising to help try and get Tao released from prison. The wife of imprisoned Chinese dissident Wang Xiaoning, was also present to speak during the hearing yesterday.

Tao was arrested and placed in jail after Yahoo China voluntarily turned over information to the government three years ago. Wang Xiaoning used a Yahoo account in 2002 to "advocate open elections" in China, which led to an eventual prison sentence.

"I am very happy that I saw and I heard the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and other congressmen criticize and condemn Yahoo for having lied to the Congress," said Gao Qinsheng, Tao's mother.

As Yahoo, Google and other search engine companies try to tap into the booming Chinese Internet market, they've had to agree to censorship and other rules that would likely be impossible in the United States. For example, Yahoo was strongly criticized last spring after turning over Internet records to the Chinese government -- which led to imprisonment and torture.

Yahoo is now working on different methods to ensure user data does not end up in the hands of repressive regimes in other nations.

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RE: Ironic
By Drexial on 11/8/2007 10:15:16 AM , Rating: 0
i think one of the other ironies is that the US government is criticizing a company for giving up a dissident. when our policy is "your either with us or against us". I don't know about you but i would consider the unnecessary use of pepper sprey and rubber bullets torture and going back to the 50s real bullets. so the US government isn't one that can really speak against activities like this.

RE: Ironic
By Drexial on 11/8/2007 10:16:33 AM , Rating: 2

damn the lack of an edit button...

RE: Ironic
By Suomynona on 11/8/2007 11:45:20 AM , Rating: 2
We may have a ways to go with regard to crowd control during protests, but I would hardly compare rubber bullets to Tiananmen Square or the jailing of people for ten years for their beliefs.

RE: Ironic
By jskirwin on 11/8/2007 11:52:02 AM , Rating: 2
when our policy is "your either with us or against us".

So China's oppression of free speech = what in America?

Last I checked there is an American candidate for the presidency calling for the impeachment of the Vice President - yet Kucinich isn't in jail. I daily read opinions calling Bush "Hitler" and equating my country with Nazi Germany, yet these voices aren't silenced. Step foot on any American college campus and you will hear much worse.

This guy was calling for a free election and got 10 years for it. Morally equivalent?

You got a bad case of

RE: Ironic
By MaulBall789 on 11/8/2007 6:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, these people are not in jail... yet. Fast forward 20 years and a few administrations down the line and I wonder if the same could be said. If the GOP and DEMS view each other as evil incarnate now, I can't imagine how bad it will be then. I certainly wouldn't put it past either of them.

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