Red China has given 35-year-old civil servant Li Zhi an eight-year prison sentence—after Yahoo! provided the Politburo with data on him. The crime was apparently ‘subversion of state power’—which I take to mean the guy had an opinion and stated it on the internet. Reporters sans Frontières (link thanks to Starling Hunter) calls him a ‘cyberdissident’ who has been wrongly imprisoned, and lists him with Shi Tao, a journalist who got 10 years thanks to Yahoo!-supplied data.
I have not been a fan of Yahoo! over some of its recent actions, as it has lost the sense of its original brand. The two-guys-in-a-garage image disappeared long ago. It might be argued that when Google caved in to Communist demands, it jumped the shark as well with regard to its brand—even if surveys disagree with me. Yahoo! is not exactly endearing itself in trying to recover its brand: I can actually understand (but do not endorse) censorship from Google’s point of view, but to actually be part of imprisonments offends me.
The company could even have covered up some of its data—how would, after all, the Internet Security Bureau of the Politburo know? Blame it on the computer—Yahoo! is pretty good at doing that, after all. The solution was simple: just subject these Bureau folks to the sort of customer service it gave me and Atul Chitnis, and lose them just like it lost us. Posted by Jack Yan, 12:44
I left a comment earlier...did it disappear?
I submitted your entry to Pajamas media.
Hi Randy: sorry about your wait for your comment to appear. It’s night time during your day here, and because of comment spam, I have to approve each message. I’m not sure what the gentleman said, but I would guess it’s about the lack of real freedom inside the Chinese mainland.
Thank you for submitting my entry to Pajamas Media!
From Boing Boing, linking Reporters sans Frontières: ‘Li, a 35-year-old ex-civil servant from the southwestern province of Dazhou, had been sentenced on December 10, 2003 to eight years in prison for “inciting subversion.” He had been arrested the previous August after he criticized in online discussion groups and articles the corruption of local ofﬁcials.’ In other words, exercising a freedom that you and I have—but he was in the wrong place and the wrong time.
Actually, there was more to it than that... the media was too busy roasting Yahoo to get all the facts. Check Global Voices on this one, I think it was Ethan that posted it.
Thank you, Taran, for shedding light on the real facts—I’m prepared to admit that relying on MSM and the (usually good) Reporters sans Frontières was insufﬁcient in this complex case. This was the link posted at Global Voices.Post a Comment
To cut the long story short, Li got in trouble via informants, and Yahoo! information was used to verify that evidence. Yahoo! information was not presented at the ﬁrst trial: ‘It is also understandable why the information provided by Yahoo! is not needed in the court trial, since the informer has copies of all the email correspondence between the two of them, copies also reside on Li's home computer which was seized by the police and the in-person conversations about the content of the emails were taped,’ according to EastSouthWestNorth. (I now wish Yahoo!’s own statement shed the same light on the matter.)
The actions of the Politburo are still less than admirable; and after reading some ofthe documents, the standard of reasonable doubt did not apply here.
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