Does Yahoo! Aid in Human Rights Violations?

ByABC News
April 20, 2006, 2:11 PM

April 20, 2006 -- -- The Internet search engine Yahoo! has complied with demands from the totalitarian Communist government of China not only that it censor its search engine results but that it aid the government in tracking down any dissidents.

The human rights group Reporters Without Borders says it has obtained a copy of the verdict against Jiang Lijun, a dissident jailed in 2003, which shows that Yahoo Holdings in Hong Kong aided police in identifying the man.

By providing Chinese authorities with confirmation that an e-mail account had been used by both Lijun and another pro-democracy activist.

It's just another in a string of accusations that U.S.-owned IT companies doing business in China are playing a role in China's continued crackdown on dissidents.

In early April, Reporters Without Borders visited Yahoo's Silicon Valley headquarters to confront executives there.

"We want them to see that they helped the Chinese police to jail people, human beings," said activist Julien Pain, head of the Paris-based Internet and Freedom desk for Reporters Without Borders.

Pain and other activists stood outside Yahoo! headquarters, and on a small portable television showed any passers-by a video.

On the video, the brother of Li Zhi, a journalist jailed by the Chinese government for exposing government corruption anonymously on an Internet message board, makes an angry accusation.

"Li is in prison because of you," he says.

Li's brother says that Yahoo! helped the Chinese government trace Li's posting back to him.

"He already had hepatitis and now he has pleurisy because the poor working conditions in prison," Li's brother says in the video in Chinese, with English subtitles. "Our family is broken. All this happened because of your company."

The video also features Chinese attorney Mo Shaoping, who represents Chinese journalist Shi Tao, imprisoned for e-mailing to pro-democracy Web sites censorship instructions from the Chinese government on, for example, the proper way to cover the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.