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17 March, 2007

Wang Xiaoning arrested, wife sues Yahoo!


I am not usually interested in political issues, but this is an interesting case reported by Wired News. I shall see what Mr Whitfield would respond.

Here's the story: Wang Xiaoning, a Chinese citizen, who posted a number of political articles online to a group of Yahoo! users anonymously. (It is believed to be a Yahoo! Group.) He was arrested on one Sunday morning in 2002. He knew what he was doing... against Chinese national policy. His wife, Yu Ling, now sues Yahoo! for assisting Chinese government.

According to the court's written ruling, Wang had edited, published and contributed articles to 42 issues of two political e-journals, advocating for open elections, a multi-party system and separation of powers in the government.

Just before I continue this interesting story, the exclamation mark (!) is part of Yahoo! company name.

Wang is now serving his 10-year time in Beijing Prison No. 2 for his pro-democracy internet writings. Yu Ling, now in Fairfax Virginia, says:
Yahoo betrayed my husband and deprived him of freedom.

She wants to hold Yahoo! accountable. For what? According to her and court document, Yahoo! handed information to Chinese government. Wait a sec, Yahoo! was required to follow the laws of countries. Associated professor of international law at Stanford University Allen Weiner said nicely,
The normal rule is that when you're doing business in a foreign country, you're obligated to comply with the law.

It is clear to me that Yu's husband (Wang) knew what he posted over internet was not allowed in China. He might not know that everything can be traced over the internet, or thought that internet is the heaven for conducting something illegal, too bad. Yu said Yahoo! "deprived" her husband of freedom. What a ridiculous claim. Okay, "deprived" was a translated word, but still ridiculous. Her husband, as a Chinese citizen, does not have much freedom to begin with. Also, what her husband posted is likely to against China's national policy.

Well done Yahoo! on complying local laws.

If Mr Wang Xiaoning succeed on changing China's politics, he would be a hero. The current situation says he failed, and he is now a traitor, and won't be a martyr.

added later
The story was simple, Wang Xiaoning was arrested for articles he shouldn't have posted or edited. It does not matter where Wang posted. And why was that Yahoo!'s fault? Yahoo! was required to comply with government, especially on national interests. Yu wants to sue Yahoo! for providing a venue? What else could Yahoo! have done? Shutting down the service?

It's just as ridiculous as suing fast food companies for your health. Fast food restaurants do not force anyone to eat there, and Yahoo! did not beg Wang to post his anti-government view in Yahoo! Group.

Also, Mr Whitfield mentioned in his Floating Life.

The Wire News story: Yahoo Betrayed My Husband (Wired News, 15 March 2007)

Posted by Antony on 17 March 2007 6:09 AM | newstalk

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