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Yahoo Settles With Imprisoned Chinese Journalists 106

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the stepping-up-to-the-plate dept.
Terms of the deal are secret, but Yahoo has reached settlements with two Chinese journalists who were arrested based on information the company provided to the ruling Communist government. "[...] a source at Yahoo said the company has been 'working with the families, and we're working with them to provide them with financial, humanitarian and legal assistance.' Yahoo has also agreed to establish a global human rights fund to provide 'humanitarian relief' to support dissidents and their families. The source said that details still have to be worked out."
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Yahoo Settles With Imprisoned Chinese Journalists

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  • by caitsith01 (606117) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @06:06PM (#21342387) Journal
    For the good of the people.

    What I would like to know: have they reached a "deal" to stop cooperating with totalitarian censors in suppressing freedom of speech and political opposition?
    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @06:08PM (#21342423) Journal
      I doubt it. I'm sure, if you're a Chinese journalist or dissident using Yahoo China for communications and the authorities figure you're saying critical things about them or reporting the truth of their regime, Yahoo will happily sell you out, but now with the added dimension that they'll buy off your relatives.
      • "they'll buy off your relatives"

        Only if you get caught and brought up before congress... nice save, but yahoo still sucks and this just goes to show you that they are more interested in getting some traction in a new market rather than being good human beings. "Screw the dissidents, we see dollar signs!!!" -- yahoo.org
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Fozzyuw (950608)

          [Yahoo] are more interested in getting some traction in a new market rather than being good human beings.

          The sad thing is that it doesn't matter what Yahoo! (or any other American company) does to gain market share in China, it can all swiftly be taken away should they anger the wrong person [news.com].


      • In China, there seems to be a trend that financial compensation to the victims will mitigate punishment in criminal cases. This is not common in the US, except for restitution-based payments for property crimes.

        See here for an extreme example [atimes.com]

        My analogy does not directly apply, since presumably any recovery by the workers would be had in US court rather than Chinese court. I just chime in to say that financial compensation might seem more appropriate to people from a different legal system.

        Maybe I can put
      • by jamar0303 (896820)
        Yahoo Japan + Babelfish. Yahoo Japan is operated separately (by Softbank) and they'd probably not do such a thing, given that they have no presence in China (and China forcing them to would bring them mounds of "We hate China" demonstrations from the Japanese, and possibly withdrawal of Japanese investment in China).
    • by jady06 (1188683)
      Exactly my sentiments. And to think of that Internet is supposed to be the medium for free speech! Hope this incident is never repeated.
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @06:07PM (#21342411)
    > Yahoo said the company has been 'working with the families, and we're working with them to provide them with financial, humanitarian and legal assistance.' Yahoo has also agreed to establish a global human rights fund to provide 'humanitarian relief' to support dissidents and their families. The source said that details still have to be worked out."

    Has one of your loved ones been shot for treason? Disappeared for thoughtcrime? Or just had one of those spur-of-the-moment fits of altruism and volunteered to donate any and all needed organs to help a wealthy Party official?

    Well, Yahoo! is here to help! Yahoo! has set up a humanitarian relief fund that to fund the families' share of the burden. For every family member shot, Yahoo! will supply your family with two cents to cover the cost of the bullet, and for every organ harvested, Yahoo! will reimburse your family for the costs of the surgery.

    It's all in this Little Red "Y". Yahoooooooooo!

  • Seems that Tom Lantos should have grilled yahoo execs much more than he did.
  • Wow (Score:4, Interesting)

    by db32 (862117) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @06:10PM (#21342443) Journal
    This is rich. Yahoo gets dissenters thrown in prison. Yahoo then generates PR by funding these organizations. Somewhat like MS spending so much time/money in Africa helping with medical problems...that are tied to the chemical plants that the Gates Foundation invests in. Generate your own PR opportunities. Genius!
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by rilister (316428)
      Care to back up that casual slander of the Gates Foundation with any reference? I'm genuinely curious about what you've read that I missed.
      Otherwise, don't blame me if I assume that you're trolling.
      • by FleaPlus (6935)
        Care to back up that casual slander of the Gates Foundation with any reference? I'm genuinely curious about what you've read that I missed.

        Via Wikipedia, here's some of the various criticisms people have raised about the Gates Foundation:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_and_Melinda_Gates_Foundation#Criticisms [wikipedia.org]

        Promotion of abortion rights and contraception

        Some social conservatives also criticize the foundation for its support of organizations that promote abortion rights and contraception, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Guttmacher Institute, the United Nations Population Fund and the World Health Organization.[citation needed]

        Investment in oil companies and drug companies

        According to a January 7 2007 Los Angeles Times article, the foundation invests large amounts of money in companies whose behavior counters the foundation's charitable goals.[31] Examples include oil companies such as Eni and drug companies who withhold medications from the developing world. According to the article, many other foundations behave similarly. In response, the foundation first announced a systematic review of all of its investments to determine whether it should consider divestment from some companies.[32] Later, it revoked this pledge[33] and said it would continue its current practices.[34]

        In a May 4 story, the Los Angeles Times again reported a conflict between the foundation investment policies and charitable goals. [15] In this case the issue was Darfur and PetroChina, an oil company in which Gates trustee Warren Buffett owns a large stake via his Berkshire Hathaway company. PetroChina's parent companies is heavily invested in oil extraction in the Sudan.

        Diversion of health care resources

        In a January/February 2007 Foreign Affairs article, Laurie Garrett claims that many charitable organizations, among whom the Gates Foundation is prominent, harm global health by diverting resources from other important local health care services.[35] For example, by paying relatively high salaries at AIDS clinics, the foundation diverts medical professionals from other parts of developing nations' health care systems; the health care systems' ability to provide care diminishes (except in the area the foundation funds) and the charities may do more harm than good.

        • by rilister (316428)
          Cheers. Slack of me to not go right to the 'pedia. OK - well, Wikipedia does reference stuff that I have seen in the press before...

          "Promotion of abortion rights and contraception"

          uh-huh. Sure. Terrible.

          "Investment in oil companies and drug companies"
          The BMGF have $34b. It doesn't just sit around in a sack in Bill's house waiting to be given away. In fact, to try and make sure that that pile o' cash doesn't get ravaged by inflation, and to hopefully give more away, they invest it, just like (I hope) you do
          • by db32 (862117)
            There are numerous sources. LA Times and Seattle Times have both run stories on it, among others. They have investments in predatory loaning companies, Dow Chemichals (the fine owners of Union Carbide), etc etc. The killer article that I read (I was actually unaware of the depth of the sheisty dealings of the Gates Foundation until recently trying to track it down again). They had investments in a chemical plant that was leading cause of health problems in an area of Africa, which of course they spent t
      • "Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation [latimes.com]" have been discussed on slashdot [slashdot.org] before.
  • by compumike (454538) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @06:16PM (#21342515) Homepage
    Original article (instead of Tomcat error) [wired.com]

    In any case, the real judge is how they decide to act next time something like this happens...

    --
    Educational microcontroller kits for the digital generation. [nerdkits.com]
  • This is that card [blogs.com] that Yahoo! will be sending to those families.
  • Yahoo just admitted that knowledge is forbidden fruit, and the governments of the world should control its distribution.
  • Surely, by them starting a fund for dissidents, they are effectively aiding and abetting dissidents, how will that not get china attacking htem?
  • I wonder if they will help Osama and his family? after all by they own words "provide 'humanitarian relief' to support dissidents and their families"

    one mans freedom fighter and all that...

  • by king-manic (409855) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @07:00PM (#21343003)
    Dear sir or madam,

    We apologize sincerely for aiding in your arrest and torture. We at yahoo do not agree with reasons given for your arrest but they offered us a lot of money. Please accept this Yahoo branded T-shirt, coffee mug, nose plug, cyanide pill and Testicle NumCream TM. I hope they will make your incarceration more bearable. We have also made a small donation in your name to Amnesty International. We know you would appreciate that.

    Regards

    Jerry Yang
  • In some committee meeting where they were discussing the Global Online Freedom Act (not the actual Yahoo hearings), one of the congressmen mentioned those very conditions enumerated in the summary as what he thought would constitute an acceptable settlement. Perhaps Yahoo hopes that by giving in, they won't pass the Act?
  • The family of Shi Tao was reported to have been paid the cost of the execution and the current value of his organs.
  • Support Yahoo. Send a dissident to camp.
  • Please Explain (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TooMad (967091)
    What is the difference between the Chinese government forcing any telecommunications company, search engine, or whatever to give up consumer data and the US government doing the same thing sometimes without even a warrant? Or a business filing a subpoena because some anonymous person posted bad things about their company/products and they want to punish them? I suppose it is ok because anyone we do this to is obviously a terrorist and wrong so it is ok. While anyone any other 'axis of evil' country does t
    • Because the western countries, USA in particular, are all worked up when the magic words "Tienanmen Square" appear.

      The first principles are:
      #1 Anybody who sides with the Communists are evil
      #2 Anybody who sides with the dissidents are heroes

      The rest follows.

      Due process? But no! -- you're supporting an evil, evil regime!!!
      What's more, you're complying with law!! What a horrible, horrible thought!!

      I mean, I never really sensed a high regard for the rule of law in America (not that there's any in China though),
  • Secret, eh? (Score:2, Funny)

    by MiniMike (234881)
    > Terms of the deal are secret,

    I bet you'll find them on Google...
  • Not really the issue (Score:1, Informative)

    by randyjg (443274)
    It is a little more complicated than everyone seems to think.

    The basic fact of the matter is Yahoo is an American company, operating multinationally. As an American company, or, as any non governmental individual or organization, Yahoo does not have the right, let alone the obligation, to act unilaterally in any matter concerning a foreign entity, state or otherwise. That is the responsibility of the State department.

    Obviously, the State department does not have the resources to respond to every issue that
    • So, Yahoo screwed up. It happens. They are trying to do their best to at least take responsibility and clean up as much of the mess they caused as they can, I am so very proud of them for that. If Yahoo gets some good publicity from that, so much the better, encouraging companies not to hide behind lawyers when they make a mistake is probably one of America's most important social goals.

      We don't know the nature of the settlement, so Yahoo is still not coming clean. They're just trying to keep Congress paci

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