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Yahoo sidesteps claim of complicity

Internet giant Yahoo has sidestepped claims that it aided China in the jailing of a journalist after he sent an email from a Yahoo account, saying it has to abide by rules laid down in the countries it operates.

"Just like any other global company, Yahoo must ensure that its local country sites must operate within the laws, regulations and customs of the country in which they are based," Yahoo spokesperson Mary Osako said in a statement on Thursday.

The company refused to comment further on a report by the media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders that it gave information to the Chinese government leading to Shi Tao being jailed for 10 years.

The Paris-based group said the information Yahoo provided helped China link Shi's personal e-mail account and the specific message he sent to the IP address of his computer.

Shi, 37, was sentenced in April on charges of "revealing state secrets" - using his email account to post on the internet a government order barring Chinese media from marking the 15th anniversary of the brutal 1989 crackdown on democracy activists at Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Yahoo's actions were revealed in the court's verdict, copies of which were posted on overseas Chinese websites. Shi, who worked for Hunan-based Contemporary Business News, has insisted he is innocent, arguing that the government order was not a state secret.

China, however, considers a wide variety of information, which would be public information in other countries, to be state secrets.

Yahoo, along with Google and Microsoft, have been accused of putting business ahead of integrity by succumbing to China's pressure and censoring sensitive information on its Chinese search engines, websites and blogs. The three portals are battling for a share of China's fast growing internet market, the second largest internet user in the world after the US.

In 2002, Yahoo voluntarily signed the Public Pledge on Self-Discipline for the China Internet Industry, agreeing to abide by Chinese censorship regulations.

Date posted: September 8, 2005 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 3473