Thursday, February 09, 2006

Up the Ying Yang

Maybe Google isn't so bad after all. My first reaction to hearing that Google had agreed to work with Chinese Communist authorities to censor their China-based search engine was one of disgust. Their "Don't Be Evil" corporate mantra seemed to be just empty rhetoric coming from a bunch of limousine liberals. After all, the supposedly environmentally-friendly founders of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, had just purchased their own 767 jet for personal travel. Just a couple hours of flight time on their airplane would consume more fuel than most Americans consume in a decade.

Now, Reporters Without Borders has revealed that a second Chinese dissident was just sentenced to prison based on evidence provided by a Yahoo subsidiary. Here's what AP said:

A Yahoo unit provided information that led to an eight-year prison sentence for a Chinese dissident, an advocacy group for journalists said Wednesday, which would be at least the second time the company has aided Chinese authorities in their crackdown on protesters. Yahoo Hong Kong provided electronic records that led to the conviction of dissident Li Zhi, according to Reporters Without Borders, which advocates on behalf of journalists.

Yahoo spokeswoman Mary Osako said Yahoo Hong Kong would not have had access to Li's Chinese account and that it never releases information to the Chinese government. Osako said the company was investigating whether Yahoo China — operated by a partner company — had released the data.

The group pointed to a plea entered by Li's lawyer, Zhang Sizhi, that was recently posted online. It shows that Yahoo Hong Kong turned over information related to Li in August 2003, the group said.

Last September, Reporters Without Borders revealed that Yahoo helped Chinese authorities convict and jail [for 10 years] Shi Tao, a journalist who had written an e-mail about press restrictions.
Ironically, Yang was born in Taiwan, a now-democratic country that is regularly threatened with invasion by the Communist Chinese dictatorship. As a Chinese-American, the worst aspect of this case is that a fellow Chinese-American--one of the richest men in the world--is willing to sell out a fellow human being trying to bring freedom to the land of his ancestors. Last year, the cold-blooded Yang brushed off suggestions of Yahoo's sellout by stating: "To be doing business in China, or anywhere else in the world, we have to comply with local law."

I can now see that there's a huge difference in behavior between Google and Yahoo. In Google's case, they are merely censoring democratic ideas, whereas Yahoo is an active participant in the suppression of Chinese dissidents. I cannot, in good conscience, ever use Yahoo's services again.


UPDATE: I've just eliminated Yahoo from my browser favorites at home and work.


At 1:10 PM, Blogger Rob said...

It's a tragedy, indeed. Yahoo, MSN, and Google are all in cahoots with the's just that we've learned Yahoo has helped in prosecuting freedom-seekers. Over the next few years I am sure we'll find out MSN and Google are or will be doing the same.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Da Man said...


There are certainly different degrees of collaboration with the Communist enemy. Yahoo is an example of the worst kind. I've tolerated what Google has done, although it may get worse, as you've surmised.

Thanks for writing,

James C.


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