Our human rights group, which filed suit against Yahoo! last month for its complicity in sharing identifying information of internet users with Chinese authorities, leading to their arrest and long-term detention, has just added another plaintiff to the lawsuit. Shi Tao, a well-known Chinese journalist, joins Wang Xiaoning and Wang's wife, Yu Ling, in their lawsuit against U.S. internet company Yahoo! Inc. and its subsidiaries.Here's the group's legal complaint, from April: PDF link. Here's detailed information about their lawsuit against Yahoo: Link.
Shi Tao was sentenced to prison by a Chinese court in 2004. The court's verdict, just like the verdict issued against Wang Xiaoning in 2003, cited evidence tying Yahoo! to Shi Tao's arrest by Chinese authorities. Specifically, Yahoo! handed over Shi Tao's identification information, including his anonymous internet user ID, as well as the location from which he had sent his e-mails. Yahoo!'s cooperation with Chinese authorities led to Shi Tao's arrest, detention, and long-term imprisonment. Both Shi Tao and Wang Xiaoning are currently serving ten year sentences for their expression of free speech via the internet in China.
I don't see any specifics about today's news from this organization online, so I'll just dump their press release in entirety here, after the jump. (posted from the road in Central America / Xeni)
[begin press release text from humanrightsusa.org]
WORLD ORGANIZATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS USAPreviously on BoingBoing:
CONTACTS: Morton Sklar or Theresa Harris
TEL: (202) 296-5702
IMPRISONED CHINESE JOURNALIST SHI TAO JOINS LAWSUIT AGAINST YAHOO!
(Washington, DC) – Shi Tao, the Chinese journalist and poet whose imprisonment first brought worldwide attention to Yahoo!’s role in facilitating the arrest, imprisonment, and torture of Chinese internet users, has joined the lawsuit filed in the U.S. against Yahoo! last month to hold the company responsible for its complicity in free speech and other human rights abuses. Shi Tao was sentenced to ten years in prison for sending an e-mail to a pro-democracy group in the United States. The 2004 Chinese court verdict that sentenced Shi Tao to jail specifically cited Yahoo! as having provided Chinese authorities with information identifying Shi Tao as the owner of the e-mail account and the source of the communications. Yahoo! acknowledges that it provided Chinese officials with identifying information leading to Shi Tao’s arbitrary arrest and long-term imprisonment.
The lawsuit that Shi Tao joins was filed in San Francisco on April 18th by Wang Xiaoning and his wife, Yu Ling. Wang used Yahoo! e-mail accounts and Yahoo! online discussion groups to publish essays on democratic reforms. Similar to Shi Tao’s case, a Chinese court cited evidence provided by Yahoo! in sentencing Wang to ten years in a forced labor prison. The lawsuit seeks an end to the practice of divulging internet user information when major human rights abuses would result. The suit also seeks to effect serious efforts by Yahoo! to obtain the release of those who it helped to put in jail, and a court finding that Yahoo! is liable for contributing to torture and other major human rights abuses. At least four known individuals have been prosecuted and placed in jail in China as a direct result of Yahoo!’s actions, though it is suspected that many more have been similarly affected.
On June 6th, Amnesty International in London will host a conference on human rights abuses and internet repression, featuring a 1:30 p.m. panel discussion on the Yahoo! case. The conference will be electronically accessible in the United States via live webcast. Additionally, two resolutions are presently before Yahoo! shareholders, both pertaining to Yahoo!’s involvement in the arrests of journalists and human rights advocates in China and the misuse of internet user identification information. The resolutions would, first, require the corporation to maintain minimum business standards that serve to protect freedom of speech and safe access to the internet, and, second, create a Board Committee on Human Rights, which would review corporate policy and its implications for international human rights standards. Shareholders will vote on those resolutions at the June 12th shareholders’ meeting.
For more information about Wang Xiaoning, Yu Ling, and Shi Tao, and their lawsuit against Yahoo!, please contact Morton Sklar or Theresa Harris at (202) 296-5702, or firstname.lastname@example.org.