Yahoo Sued Over Jailing of Chinese Journalist

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The mother of Chinese journalist Shi Tao, who was jailed for ten years by the Chinese government after Yahoo cooperated with Chinese authorities and revealed Shi Tao’s identity and personal details to them, is suing Yahoo in U.S. Federal court.

Tao’s mother, Gao Qinsheng, explained that she hoped that by bringing the lawsuit that it would move U.S. lawmakers to tighten up Internet privacy laws so that Internet providers would no longer be able to (or feel compelled to) cooperate with the authorities of countries and regimes that do not honour human rights.

Shi Tao was sentenced in 2005 to 10 years as a political prisoner, doing labour at a Chinese prison, for “revealing state secrets,” after he wrote an article discussing a ban on Chinese journalists reporting on the Tiananmen Square Massacre anniversary. He was arrested after Yahoo revealed to Chinese authorities that Shi Tao was the author of that article.

Qinsheng explained that it is her hope to convince Western countries “to forbid multinational Internet providers, including Yahoo, from revealing customers’ personal information, because it is a violation of human rights and freedom.”  “Only by proper legislation can we make sure no other people would have to suffer what Shi Tao has been through,” said his mother.

In the meantime, her son has been awarded the Golden Pen of Freedom 2007 Award from the World Association of Newspapers, which Qinsheng says has done his heart good, despite being imprisoned for the very acts which helped to garner him the award.

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