Yahoo! backs China speech rights ahead of House hearing

[JURIST] Yahoo! Inc. [corporate website] issued a statement [text] Monday supporting freedom of speech in China in anticipation of its Wednesday testimony [hearing agenda] before the human rights subcommittee [official website] of the US House Committee on International Relations. The company, along with Google [corporate website], Microsoft [corporate website] and Cisco [corporate website], has recently come under fire for cooperating with the Beijing government in efforts Setting out what it called "Our Beliefs as a Global Internet Company", Yahoo! said: The statement said:

Doing business in certain countries presents US companies with challenging and complex questions. We are deeply concerned by efforts of governments to restrict and control open access to information and communication. We also firmly believe the continued presence and engagement of companies like Yahoo! is a powerful force in promoting openness and reform.
The tone of the latest Yahoo! statement contrasts with that of a statement issued in response to a Congressional Human Rights Caucus [official website] hearing earlier this month [briefing testimonies; agenda; Red Herring report]. The four firms declined an invitation to testify at the hearing, and Yahoo! and Microsoft at the time issued releases [Silicon Valley Watcher report] emphasizing governments' role in addressing speech restrictions. Yahoo! was recently accused of supplying the Chinese government [Boston Globe report] with civil servant Li Zhi's internet communications, which the government then used to prosecute Zhi for her online critique of local government officials. Red Herring has more.

 

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