Chinese Man Gets Four Year Sentence

Written by Brett Thomas

April 21, 2006 | 16:21

Tags: #email #jail #sentence #skype

Companies: #cisco #google #microsoft #yahoo

Last September we were discussing Yahoo! disclosing names to the Chinese government. At the time, we were very worried about what this said of the company's beliefs in internet freedom, and its greater impact on us all.

Many companies, including Google, Microsoft, Cisco and Skype, have succombed to the tight restrictions demanded by the Chinese government in hopes of garnering business share there. But it is very rare that, as we chastise these companies for their assistance, that we think about any of the actual people that are governed.

It's time to post a follow-up to our Yahoo! news story. Reporters Without Borders has obtained documents relating to a another case of a Chinese citizen being jailed for 'pro-democratic' organization where Yahoo! is the provider of their e-mails.

The document cited evidence used by the prosecution including "email account information provided by Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd" which found Jiang Lijun, a 39 year old citizen, guilty of inciting 'so-called western-style' democracy. Jiang was sentenced to a four year prison term at the end of 2003. This is the third such case that Yahoo! has been listed as one of the evidence providers.

A spokeswoman for Yahoo! declined any knowledge of the case or its resulting sentence. You can read more at

News like this brings us to an important question: Should companies truly live by the motto of 'When in Rome, do as the Romans'? Or do they owe it to the shareholders and supporters in more democratic countries to take a stand on individual rights? Tell us your thoughts in our forums.
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