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Yahoo! cited in imprisonment of Chinese dissidents

Written by Kelsey Sigurdur Thursday, 09 February 2006

In a press release issued today, Reporters without Borders, an organization formed to defend the freedom of the press, claim that Yahoo user and "cyberdissident" Li Zhi was imprisoned based on electronic records provided by the internet giant.

Li Zhi was sentenced in December of 2003 to 8 years in prison for "inciting subversion", a clever label for criticizing corruption.

Reporters without Borders has called upon Yahoo to provide a list of dissidents whom have had their data handed over to Chinese authorities. Their call comes after the publication of a statement made by Zhi's lawyer, Zhang Sizhi, at an appeals court hearing in February of 2004.

Zhang said his client, who used the e-mail address and user-name lizhi34100, had been sentenced on the basis of data handed over by Yahoo

This is the second time that Yahoo as been sharply criticized for its role in abetting the Chinese government. In September of 2005, Yahoo was accused of supplying information that led to the arrest and imprisonment of Shi Tao, a journalist for the Contemporary Business News in Hunan province. Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison for forwarding to foreign websites the text of a Communist Party message warning journalists of the dangers in marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

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