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Media watchdog again accuses Yahoo of helping Chinese police ID journalist

[JURIST] Internet company Yahoo [corporate website] may be responsible for leading Chinese police to the identity of a pro-democracy activist [press release] who was sentenced to four years in prison, Reporters Without Borders [advocacy website] said Wednesday. Jiang Lijun was jailed in 2003 for allegedly promoting democracy through "violent means" on the Internet. According to Reporters Without Borders, Jiang's 2003 guilty verdict [PDF text, in English] relied on evidence that connected Jiang with an email account known to be used for distributing pro-democracy information, evidence which likely came from Yahoo, but could have come from another activist-turned-informant who also used the account. Yahoo has not commented on the case, but has insisted that it must comply with local laws [JURIST report].

Jiang is the third such activist that Yahoo has been accused of helping police identify. Also in 2003, Yahoo allegedly supplied information that sent Chinese journalists Li Zhi and Shi Tao to prison for eight and ten years respectively. Wednesday's accusations come as Chinese President Hu Jintao [official profile] meets with President Bush later this week. The two are expected to discuss, among other things, freedom of press issues. In another case which has received attention, a lawyer for a Chinese New York Times researcher said earlier this week that the journalist could still face trial [JURIST report] for allegedly disclosing military secrets. AP has more.

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