Congress Accuses Yahoo Execs Of Lying About Handing Over Info To Chinese Authorities

from the uh-oh dept

Yahoo just can't win, it seems. The company is finally having a good day in the news, as its earnings topped expectations -- and almost at the same time, Congress accuses company execs of lying at a hearing. Last year, after the news media finally realized that the big American internet sites were cooperating with the Chinese gov't on certain things, Congress felt it needed to hold some grandstanding hearings to make it look like they cared or might actually do something. Of course, nothing much happened at all. However, someone in Congress has noticed that something that a Yahoo exec said in those hearings doesn't seem to square up with more recent news -- meaning that Congress is back in action, asking Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and the exec in question, general counsel Michael Callahan, to explain themselves at a hearing next month. The question is how involved Yahoo was in the Chinese effort to track down and jail journalist Shi Tao. Callahan told Congress that Yahoo had no info on the case, but documents released this summer suggest otherwise.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    TheDock22, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 9:22am

    Why do we care again?

    This sounds like another case of the US sticking its nose into other country's affairs. Who care if Yahoo! cooperated with China and a journalist was imprisoned? He was breaking the law and China has the right to prosecute him according to their laws.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 9:36am

    Re: Why do we care again?

    Ask why we should care again, when these companies are asked to do the same thing here in the United States.

     

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  3.  
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    Boost, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 9:36am

    Freedom of the press

    I think that is why we care, or at least pretend to care...but I'm not certain.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous of Course, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 9:43am

    Why We Care

    If Yahoo is a corporation based in the USA,
    the US government should care as far as Yahoo's
    actions go to either support or undermine
    their foreign policy.

    If the law in some country demanded all persons
    with red hair be executed, is it proper for the
    USA to use their foreign policy to try and
    influence that country to change the law?

    I'm not talking about the military. I'm talking
    about the rights of nations to freely associate
    with and trade with whom they please in the manner
    they see fit. Which I know some will dispute.

    Putting it on an individual level, if I divested
    myself of stock from companies supporting South
    Africa during the aparthied era, am I sticking my
    nose into another country's internal affiars? And
    isn't that my business if I decide to do so?

     

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  5.  
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    herres_johnnie, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 9:58am

    LMAO @ Yahoo

    Yahoo should be spending more time worrying about how bad their service is before they branch off into trying to deal with anything going in the US Congress. Who gives a shit the owner of Yahoos name is Yang why wouldnt he cooperate Lawd knows hes doing Jack to correct any issues dealing with Yahoo.

    Whatever they do to that journalist is there business,If the US Congress wants to accuse Yang of anything accuse him for pretending to be a Big American Internet Site and then imprison him! LOL

     

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  6.  
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    JS Beckerist (profile), Oct 17th, 2007 @ 10:13am

    We should care...

    We should care because it's a human being being imprisoned according to the standard of a country that notoriously abuses human rights, and it was an American company helping out. Standards? Ethics? Anyone?

     

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  7.  
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    TheDock22, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 11:05am

    Re: We should care...

    We should care because it's a human being being imprisoned according to the standard of a country that notoriously abuses human rights

    According to moralistic American values. China has a different set of standards and probably do not consider this a human rights violation. Many countries think our death penalties are abusing human rights, but they are our laws.

    and it was an American company helping out. Standards? Ethics? Anyone?

    Well, technically the Chinese branch of said American company. But again, American companies do worse things everyday than (god forbid!) agree to help out the government, no matter which country that government is in. The guy broke the law, plain and simple. Just because it is not a violation of any American law does not mean we need to step in.

    I'm sure if the US government asked for help from a Chinese firm to identify some company using lead-based paint in toys, we would imprison somebody and China would not then sue the Chinese firm just because it happens to not be a crime in their country.

     

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  8.  
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    Erk, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 11:12am

    Lets go back to slavery

    I think we should identify all people with oriental dna and make them slaves.. no not here, in like .. the Virgin Islands. Anyone that doesn't agree with me will be tracked down and silenced.. in the interest of good relations. With the new patriot act, we can strip anyone of citizenship and thus any hope of a trial and deport them to.. um.. The Virgin Islands!!

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 11:21am

    I wouldn't think a man named Yang would help the Chinese.

     

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  10.  
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    heywood, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 11:34am

    Re: LMAO @ Yahoo

    What? Make sense, please.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 11:38am

    Congress Goes Mouse Hunting

    Yeah, go get Jerry Yang and hold him accountable for lying to lawmakers. Alberto who? Harriet who? Andrew who? Karl Who? General (fill in the blank)? VP (redacted)? Nah, they just set national policy. But Yahoo-- now there's something we need to pay serious attention to.

    Gag.

     

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  12.  
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    Alex Hagen, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 11:47am

    Chinese shills?

    "He was breaking the law and China has the right to prosecute him according to their laws."

    "According to moralistic American values....The guy broke the law, plain and simple. "

    The guy was a journalist, reporting on a massive brutal crackdown by the government on a chinese religious organization. By any objective standard he did nothing wrong except go against a government that won't tolerate freedom of speech or religion or dissent of any kind. And you know what, I don't give a shit about the values of a brutal dictatorship. When the government kills and imprisons people on a whim, IT is illegal and immoral, and if you cooperate with them to help them to do it, you share the blame.

    How anyone can justify this action is beyond me. It is well known that China pays people to shill for it online, one wonders if that is what is going on now.

     

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  13.  
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    RandomThoughts, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 11:58am

    Yahoo won't be punished for helping out the Chinese govt, but they will be punished for lying to congress. That generally isn't a good idea.

     

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  14.  
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    Shalkar, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 12:04pm

    My Opinion is:

    Well, the only reason Congress is caring about this right now is that if they DID lie under oath, then there is a problem. That's what it boils down to. It's about that and that alone.

    As for that poor journalist, well our government will yap their jaws like the people, but will anybody ban together and actually put in to motion what needs to be done in order to save that poor guy and the others like him? Nope! If it doesn't directly involve you, chances are you don't REALLY care and aren't willing to lift a finger to help. It's like if a old woman gets robbed in the middle of the street in broad day light. The majority will do nothing because, "It doesn't cocern me! I'm just minding my own business".

    The Chinese government cares about themselves and that's that. I REAL government cares about the people only and will do what ever is necessary in order to protect them. Thing is though, by that definition alone, are there any real governments out there at all... ?

     

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  15.  
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    TheDock22, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Chinese shills?

    The guy was a journalist, reporting on a massive brutal crackdown by the government on a chinese religious organization. By any objective standard he did nothing wrong except go against a government that won't tolerate freedom of speech or religion or dissent of any kind.

    He was caught by blogging negative things about the government. He knew the rules and broke them. Next you will be telling me it is okay in the U.S. for a prisoner to verbally harass his victims because hey that's freedom of speech. Just because they U.S. has more lack rules than other countries does not mean we get to dictate what other countries (especially non-Democracies) get to do.

    And you know what, I don't give a shit about the values of a brutal dictatorship. When the government kills and imprisons people on a whim, IT is illegal and immoral, and if you cooperate with them to help them to do it, you share the blame.

    To a Democracy they seem brutal, illegal, and immoral I agree. But who are you to judge a country that has been around longer than our country? There is no blame to be shared, their country and their rules.


    How anyone can justify this action is beyond me. It is well known that China pays people to shill for it online, one wonders if that is what is going on now.


    Just because I think Americans need to focus on making the U.S. a better place and keep our morals and opinions about other countries to ourselves does NOT make me a shill. I could say by focusing on other countries values while not attempting to help any of the journalists in OUR country who cross the line and get recourse by the government is un-patriotic and hypocritical. Of course, I don't think that because both of our opinions matter. Bless the U.S.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous of course, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Chinese shills?

    TheDock22 wrote:

    "I could say by focusing on other countries values while not attempting to help any of the journalists in OUR country who cross the line and get recourse by the government is un-patriotic and hypocritical. Of course, I don't think that because both of our opinions matter. Bless the U.S."

    You presume too much. Who's not attempting to help
    journalists in the USA? There are many forms of redress,
    professional groups and of course the ACLU. What similar
    mechanisms exist in China? Can you reference a journalists
    in the USA jailed for a similar offence in modern times?
    Maybe I've missed that story in the news.

    It's a matter of degree isn't it? If you see a seriously
    wounded foreigner do you ignore them in order to patch up
    the skinned knee of a neighbor?

    The treatment of the falun gong, dali lama, and students
    at tienaman square by the Chinese government are not
    anomalies.

    Yes, the USA has it's problems and they should not be
    ignored... but neither should the atrocities in China.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Alex Hagen, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Chinese shills?

    "He was caught by blogging negative things about the government. He knew the rules and broke them. Next you will be telling me it is okay in the U.S. for a prisoner to verbally harass his victims because hey that's freedom of speech."

    Wow, now there is quite a leap. Yes, criticizing the government is just like a criminal harassing his victims. Congratulations, that has got to be one of the stupidest comparisons I have ever seen.

    "But who are you to judge a country that has been around longer than our country?"

    A person who believes that humans have a right to not be murdered and tortured. You may have decided that morals and ethics don't really exist, but I am not buying into your moral bankruptcy. That's assuming you aren't just trolling or a shill, which I still think is more likely.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re: Chinese shills?


    You presume too much. Who's not attempting to help
    journalists in the USA? There are many forms of redress,
    professional groups and of course the ACLU. What similar
    mechanisms exist in China? Can you reference a journalists
    in the USA jailed for a similar offence in modern times?
    Maybe I've missed that story in the news.


    No one seems to come to the aid of journalists who make racist or sexist remarks. Quit comparing the U.S. to China. That is like comparing apples to oranges. And I never said journalists are jailed, I said recourse (lawsuits, etc.).

    It's a matter of degree isn't it? If you see a seriously
    wounded foreigner do you ignore them in order to patch up
    the skinned knee of a neighbor?


    It would depend on where I am and the situation. And of course if the foreigner was friend or foe.

    The treatment of the falun gong, dali lama, and students
    at tienaman square by the Chinese government are not
    anomalies.


    We have had our fair share of rallies and vicious treatment of law enforcement on citizens (the tazering incidents, protests of Vietnam, the treatment of women and minorities in our country).

    Yes, the USA has it's problems and they should not be
    ignored... but neither should the atrocities in China.


    Why? We ignored the genocide in Rowanda (and almost every civil battle fought in Africa). We put Suddam Huessin in power and ignored him for years. What makes China so special?

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous of Course, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Chinese shills?

    TheDock22 wrote:

    "We have had our fair share of rallies and vicious treatment of law enforcement on citizens (the tazering incidents, protests of Vietnam, the treatment of women and minorities in our country)."


    I lived though the times of race riots and Vietnam war
    protests. Trying to compare those periods in the USA to
    the on going repression in China is at the least woefully
    misinformed, or more likely intellectually dishonest.
    Like comparing being tazered to being run over by a tank.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Chinese shills?

    more likely intellectually dishonest.
    Typical for TheDock22.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 3:56pm

    Not about China

    The issue here isn't about trying to enforce US domestic policy on the Chinese government. It isn't about how Chinese companies operate withing China either. It's about holding a US company responsible for it's actions just as US citizens can be held accountable for their actions even outside US borders. Finding a foreign government to help you do evil is no excuse.

     

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  22.  
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    RandomThoughts, Oct 18th, 2007 @ 5:58am

    It can be difficult for companies that have to be concerned with following US laws vs. foreign county laws. One US bank was required to give transaction information over to the Justice Dept. on overseas transactions, thus voilating Swedish law. To not give it over to the US voilates our law. To give it over voilates Swedish law. What the hell do you do then? Companies can not bribe govt. officials, but what do you do when you can't get your phones hooked up in your Columbian sales office without giving the local guy money?

    That being said, just what is the US going to do about China? They are a superpower. You don't screw with superpowers. We are going to force China to treat their folks better when we did nothing when they forced down an Airforce jet and held our airmen and women in jail for a couple of weeks? What, we should come out and condem them? Yeah, that worked well when they drove their tanks over their citizens. Those Free Tibet bumperstickers have worked out well. We could always boycott their 2012 Olympics? (and stating this may have voilated copyright issues)

    There really isn't anything we can do about it short of not dealing with them or going to war. Neither option is a good idea. Folks bluster about US actions, but what really happens. We could go in and take over Cuba if we wanted to and the world community would yell and scream, but they really wouldn't do anything about it.

    You don't screw with superpowers in their own backyard.

    You want to be concerned about something, be concerned with the tribes that slaughter each other in the name of clensing in Africa. Be concerned with the women in countries that are stoned to death because they "dishonored" their family. Be concerned of the children that are given AK-47's and pointed in the "enemys" direction or used as human shields.

    A journalist being jailed? If you want to save the world, there are better, more pressing places to start.

     

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  23.  
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    Gerry, Oct 18th, 2007 @ 10:16am

    Freedom of Speech

    So, now our illustious congress is worried about freedom of speech as they try to dismantle it in our country? They take time to denounce a radio talk show host for saying "phoney soldiers" and they think they have a corner on morality.....give me a break!

    A global corporation has many environmental influences to deal with (and I am not talking about enviromentalism). As a gobal corp. we have to obey the laws of each country we do business in. Sometimes that's tricky, but our congress cannot dictate the lawfulness of another coutries laws, just because a company has headquarters in Santa Clara. Keep doing that an we just move headquarters to Singapore. The US congress has done everything it can to completely desimate the capabilities of our companies to do business. Eventually, they won't have to worry about it. We will pay our business taxes to another country (at a substantially lower rate). While congress continues to make it hard and costly to do business in America, other countries are making it so much easier. Once it moves, it won't come back.

     

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  24.  
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    RandomThoughts, Oct 18th, 2007 @ 10:47am

    Of course, you could also look at the companies that helped the Nazi's before and during WWII.

    Some things are just plain wrong.

     

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  25.  
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    Michael U. Melgoza, Oct 18th, 2007 @ 3:51pm

    Re:

    To not give it over to the US voilates our law. To give it over voilates Swedish law. What the hell do you do then?
    If it is a US company then I suggest they obey US law and not do business in Sweden if they can't do it without violating the law. And if it is a Swedish company then I suggest they obey Swedish law and not do business in the US if they can't do it without violating the law. What's so hard to understand about that?

    You don't screw with superpowers. We are going to force China to treat their folks better when we did nothing when they forced down an Airforce jet and held our airmen and women in jail for a couple of weeks?
    Just because you can't eliminate evil doesn't mean you should join it.

    What, we should come out and condem them? Yeah, that worked well when they drove their tanks over their citizens. Those Free Tibet bumperstickers have worked out well.
    I'll say it again, just because you can't eliminate evil doesn't mean you should join it.

    There really isn't anything we can do about it short of not dealing with them or going to war.
    That's not true at all. We can deal with them without committing evil acts ourselves. The idea that to resist aiding them in commission of evil would start WWIII is just ridiculous. "Hey, I couldn't stop them so I just decided to join them" is a bogus excuse for immorality.

    Neither option is a good idea.
    Luckily and despite your claims, those aren't the only options.

    You want to be concerned about something, be concerned with the tribes that slaughter each other in the name of clensing in Africa. Be concerned with the women in countries that are stoned to death because they "dishonored" their family.
    I am. I find your suggestion that I'm not if I also care about what US companies are doing in China to be intellectually dishonest and insulting.

    If you want to save the world, there are better, more pressing places to start.
    Many an evil person has tried to defend themselves with with that argument. Like a rapist telling the sentencing judge "Gee Your Honor, you know there are worse crimes, like murder, being committed out there. So you should just let me go because if you wanna stop crime, there are better, more pressing places to start." Evil acts can't be excused because there are worse things being done elsewhere.

     

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  26.  
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    Michael U. Melgoza, Oct 18th, 2007 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Freedom of Speech

    As a gobal [sic] corp. we have to obey the laws of each country we do business in.
    And if, as a US company, you can't do that without breaking the law then you shouldn't be in business there. Similarly, breaking the law because you joined some gang that required you to do so is no excuse. You shouldn't have joined that gang. And telling the judge that the only reason you joined the gang was to try to "reform it from the inside" probably isn't going to fly either.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Danny Koch, Oct 18th, 2007 @ 7:21pm

    Re: Re: Chinese shills?

    To a Democracy they seem brutal, illegal, and immoral I agree. But who are you to judge a country that has been around longer than our country?

    Huh? How stupid can you get? Communist China has NOT been around longer than the US. Not that it would make any difference anyway.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2007 @ 6:19am

    Re:

    We could go in and take over Cuba if we wanted to and the world community would yell and scream, but they really wouldn't do anything about it.
    The US agreed not to invade Cuba in exchange for the Soviet Union removing missiles from Cuban in 1962.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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