Jailed Chinese journalist sues Yahoo!

Yahoo ChinaA Chinese journalist who was jailed for leaking state secrets is demanding compensation from Yahoo! after the internet portal provided information that led to his arrest.

Shi Tao, a 39-year-old former Contemporary Business News reporter, in 2004 re-distributed by Yahoo! Mail an official Communist Party dictate that requested journalists refrain from reporting June 4 protests by dissidents commemorating the 1989 Tianamen Square clashes.

Following a Chinese government request, Yahoo! handed over Tao’s identity, after which he was detained and later imprisoned for 10 years.

Shi Tao was awarded the Golden Pen press freedom commendation, last week at the World Editors Forum in Cape Town, for his actions.

At a news conference in Hong Kong yesterday, Mao’s mother, Gao Qinsheng, announced he had joined a lawsuit, started by the World Organisation for Human Rights USA, seeking damages from Yahoo!.

Mao filed the complaint on May 29 against Yahoo! Inc., its Hong Kong subsidiary and Alibaba.com, the company’s parent organisation in China. The plaintiffs are seeking to use US federal laws concerning torture and international law violations.

“I believe my son is innocent,” Qinsheng said. “We will fight until the end. “We sue Yahoo … not for Shi Tao, but to avoid any more innocent people from being prosecuted in the future.”

The challenge is a wide-ranging suit that also includes Wang Xiaoning, who was similarly jailed in 2002 after Yahoo! supplied information identifying him from pro-democracy posts added to its Yahoo! Groups message boards.