Yahoo’s Dirty Secret, Hidden Behind Net Neutrality

Yahoo is bankrolling the Network Neutrality Coalition in hopes that you won’t learn about their other high-profile activity – helping to lock-up Chinese dissidents. We question what Yahoo and’s real definition of “network neutrality” is.
According to documents recently obtained by “Human Rights in China,” Yahoo helped lock up a Chinese citizen for calling China “an authoritarian dictatorship” (it is) and advocating that “without a multi-party system, free elections and separation of powers, any political reform is fraudulent” (that’s true).
Reporters Without Borders recently visited Yahoo’s corporate campus to show its employees the real affect of cooperating with the Chinese government and locking up dissidents. In one video, a jailed dissident’s brother pleads, “Li is in prison because of [Yahoo],” he says. “Our family is broken …I am convinced he is innocent…All this happened because of your company…and I hope that in future you will heed your conscience before doing this kind of thing.”
In another video, another jailed dissident’s lawyer says Yahoo! is implicated in many similar cases: “I have names, but I cannot reveal them yet…” (See the videos on ABC World News Tonight at:
The fact is, this is not the first time that Yahoo has worked hand-in-glove to jail Chinese dissidents. The San Francisco Chronicle (4/29/06) writes “…other cases in which Yahoo was cited as providing evidence to the Chinese government include Jiang Lijun, serving a four-year prison sentence for discussing a democratic China; journalist Shi Tao, arrested for forwarding a government e-mail and now serving a 10-year sentence; and Li Zhi, serving an eight-year sentence for criticizing local officials online.”
We may now only see the tip of the iceberg. Reporters Without Borders claims to have sent Yahoo a list of the 80 cyber-dissidents and journalists in prison in China, asking it to confirm if it was involved in their arrests. Three months later, Yahoo still hasn’t replied.
What can you do to send Yahoo a message?
Send the Corporate Communications Department an email to Yahoo’s company values proclaim “We are committed to winning with integrity” and “We treat one another with respect and communicate openly.” These values are empty promises; we know that when it comes to freedom-loving Chinese, Yahoo disregards integrity and disrespects open communication. Tell them to clean up their act or you will take your search business elsewhere.
Tell Representatives Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and Tom Lantos (D-CA) to hold another hearing on this matter. Both Representatives worked in a bipartisan manner to begin investigating this matter earlier this year. At the hearing Lantos told the executives, “I simply do not understand how your corporate leadership sleeps at night.” Read the transcript here.
Send messages congratulating the 15 Representatives who have co-sponsored HR 4780, the “Global Online Freedom Act” which says “Technology companies in the United States…have succumbed to pressure by authoritarian foreign governments to provide such governments with information about Internet users that has led to the arrest and imprisonment of cyber dissidents…”

Jeff Mazzella, Center for Individual Freedom


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