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Letter Casts Doubt On Yahoo China Testimony 59

Posted by kdawson
from the what-did-they-know-and-when dept.
Saint Aardvark writes "A hand-written letter has surfaced that sheds new light on the case of Chinese reporter Shi Tao. The letter (PDF), believed to be from Chinese police, 'is essentially a standardized search warrant making clear that Chinese law enforcement agencies have the legal authority to collect evidence in criminal cases. This contradicts Yahoo's testimony (PDF) to Congress in 2006 that they 'had no information about the nature of the investigation.' 'One does not have to be an expert in Chinese law to know that 'state secrets' charges have often been used to punish political dissent in China,' says Joshua Rosenzweig, manager of research and publications for The Dui Hua Foundation. Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his reporting on the Tianamen Square massacre."
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Letter Casts Doubt On Yahoo China Testimony

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  • So What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:03PM (#20050043) Journal
    Why, we were just following orders? You don't expect us to break the laws of other nations, do you? Don't worry, by helping Chinese officials silence those Chinese citizens brave enough to criticize their regime, we are in fact bringing freedom to China!

    War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
    • Re:So What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cassius Corodes (1084513) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:06PM (#20050065)
      This kind of behaviour is on the increase around the world - the Internet is not the bastion of anonymity it once was - and we have mostly western companies to blame.
      • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:32PM (#20050309)
        Let's see. After all, it looks like Yahoo lied to congress, if I interpret this correctly. There was an investigation from congress, and they said it ain't so. In my books, this constitutes as a lie.

        Now the congress is in a considerable problem. Either they fine a company or they accept that companies lie to them freely. Decisions, decisions...

        I have a gut feeling I know how this will end.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by hondo77 (324058)

          I have a gut feeling I know how this will end.

          Jerry Yang being appointed to the newly created position of Technology Czar for the Bush Administration?

          • If I was him, I'd wait 'til after elections. You never know which party wins, and should the democrats take over, it would look kinda awkward if he remained in office.
        • Not contradictory (Score:3, Insightful)

          by StikyPad (445176)
          They testified that they had no knowledge of the details surrounding the case. The "warrant" simply states that the Chinese government is asserting its right to obtain the IP address and content of the e-mails. No details are provided other than the justification.

          For some reason, there's 3 pages of posts modded up for berating Yahoo's supposed perjury before Congress, but, as usual, nobody bothered to read the fucking anything.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Guess what: It never was.

        For a long time, it appeared to be anonymous. However, do you think you were anon to groups like Doubleclick, or Yahoo, or any other aggregate "news" or ad portal?

        There were ways to be anon:

        1: Use a Socks proxy
        2: Use a "web only" proxy (mal-configured Squid is your friend)
        3: Use a mail-WWW translator machine (with appropriate obfuscations in the mail client)

        Now, we can use the net anon via TOR, or nyud.net for not hitting their machine, or a multitude of new options.
      • Any guesses ... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:36PM (#20050355)
        ... as to how the comments on this thread will compare to the comments on the thread about police recording license plate locations and times?
        http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/30/01 45253 [slashdot.org]

        It would appear that some degree of privacy / anonymity is necessary for Freedom.
        • Re:Any guesses ... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Opportunist (166417) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:50PM (#20050497)
          Not only for your freedom, but also for your health.

          Being under constant surveillance is quite a bit of stress for a person. Especially when said person knows he's under surveillance. You can't behave "normally". Our education tells us that you simply don't do certain things in public. And we behave accordingly in public. Believe it or not, that's stressful. You have to "behave".

          People don't really feel it that much, usually. They spend 10 hours tops in public view. They usually can retreat to their privacy if the stress becomes unbearable. But ask any celebrity, especially those that became famous against their will, how it feels to be a "public person".

          If this becomes mainstream, I predict a lot more people going postal.
          • by rts008 (812749)
            Your post reminded me about some behavior study done in either the late 1960's or early 1970' at the Berkley campus of one of the CA univerities (UCLA, USC, whatever).

            They set up an experiment asking for paid ($300.00 comes to mind) volunteers who would drink a half gallon of their favorite beverage (alcohalic beverages were limited to beer) during a two hour time frame (no bathroom trips allowed), then retire to a small room as a group, taking seats in a circle facing in. In the room, you could have as muc
          • by guruevi (827432)
            Well, hate to tell you, but everybody is under surveillance every second of the day. That comes from both governmental (phone and internet lines are all monitored although nobody actually listens to it), institutional (your boss most likely has a way of looking into looking into the logs of the proxy/firewall) and personal (your wife/girlfriend likes to know you're not cheating on them or your nosy 80-year old neighbour likes to know what's going on). If you accept that, you will also stop acting like you h
            • Personally, I act in private the same as I would in public. I don't care very much, I don't have any curtains and I walk around in my underwear, the back of my house consists out of 1 large window for both stories (loft-style apartment) so everybody can see my bedroom and my living room. Nobody should complain since, although they can see me, they are afraid to be labeled voyeurs when I see them. It's funny to see how people act when they walk past and I have just my tiny whities on sitting in the chair wor

      • things. I love it and I tend to think idealistically about it, but I think when you cut right down to it that's what it is. We develop things to control more. It's inevitable that we'd start using technology to control ourselves, or the people we don't trust.

    • Re:So What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EMeta (860558) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:16PM (#20050145)
      Following orders is one thing. Lying to congress is a considerable felony. Why does no one seem to get this these days, lying to congress is not some American right, no matter how much they lie to you?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)
        Well, whether they want to or not, politicians are some kind of role model. If people think their politicians care for their country and put the country before anything else, they will do the same. If people think politicians are crooks that care about the country if it coincidentally happens to be done by the same procedures that line their pockets, people will do the same.

        They're representatives in the truest sense of the word.
        • by metlin (258108)
          Politicians are chosen by the people and the people are represented through the politicians.

          So, if we have corrupt politicians, it is nothing but a reflection of our society.
          • Hen or egg? Does a corrupt society breed corrupt politicians, or do corrupt politicians make people corrupt?
      • Following orders is one thing. Lying to congress is a considerable felony. Why does no one seem to get this these days, lying to congress is not some American right, no matter how much they lie to you?
        Not an american right, but a corporate right. Championed in recent decades by the tobacco industry. Ah what amazing corporate rights pioneers where they. We should declare a national holiday in their honor - RJR-Nabisco-Marlboro-Vagina-Slimes day!
      • Or more specifically (Score:5, Informative)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:58PM (#20051023)
        Lying under oath. Whether in front of congress or a court or whatever, when you take an oath to tell the truth that oath carries legal force and you can be charged for violating it. That's the whole reason for "pleading the 5th" and such. You can't be made to incriminate yourself, but that doesn't mean you are allowed to lie not to. Thus the 5th amendment allows you to not answer the question.

        Many people don't realise that this is often the real legal deal surrounding some of the political controversies. For example the legal problem for Bill Clinton wasn't that he banged his secretary, it was that he lied under oath about it. The press and the public may have made a big deal out of the sex act, but the legal problems were surrounding the testimony.

        When you are under oath you can refuse to answer for certain limited reasons (like anything that would violate the 5th amendment) and you can always pull the political favourite of "not being able to recall that" but you can't lie about it, at least not legally. Getting caught doing that can get you in trouble, even had what you were being questioned about been perfectly legal. The whole "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," isn't just for show. When you say "I do," you've made a formal oath and can be held to that.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by kestasjk (933987)

          Many people don't realise that this is often the real legal deal surrounding some of the political controversies. For example the legal problem for Bill Clinton wasn't that he banged his secretary, it was that he lied under oath about it. The press and the public may have made a big deal out of the sex act, but the legal problems were surrounding the testimony.
          Depends what the meaning of "lied" is.
        • by umghhh (965931)
          strangly in cases like this a lie is not really that good for you anyway even if you do not get caught. If Clinton admited that he did what he did I guess the envy would be at least as big as the noise from so called moral guardians and such.

          They lied and should be held responsible.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TapeCutter (624760)
      "Don't worry, by helping Chinese officials silence those Chinese citizens brave enough to criticize their regime, we are in fact bringing freedom to China!"

      Trivia: Before the interwebs came along "Yahoo" was (still is) Australian slang for an obnoxiously loud fool, as in: "I wish that yahoo would shut the fuck up".
      • by ChatHuant (801522)
        Trivia: Before the interwebs came along "Yahoo" was (still is) Australian slang for an obnoxiously loud fool, as in: "I wish that yahoo would shut the fuck up".

        Trivia: Before Australia came along, "Yahoo" was the name Jonathan Swift gave to the degenerate humans in his Gulliver's Travels [wikipedia.org]
    • by Shihar (153932)
      Corporations are really simple and stupid creatures. For the most part, they simply follow the law, whatever the law happens to be. Granted, some times it happens where a higher up will violate the law using the corporation(Enron), but for the most part, corporations just blindly follow the law to the letter. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Yahoo follows in this tradition and simply shrugs and hands over records when presented with a warrant, regardless of what nation it is in. Unless Yahoo
    • by posdnous (469992)
      Yahoo.com.cn is actually not owned by Yahoo at all, it is wholly owned by alibaba.com, a chinese company. The sale took place 2 years ago. http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/gyzg/t206942.htm [china-embassy.org]
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Why, we were just following orders? You don't expect us to break the laws of other nations, do you?
      ...
      War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

      Okay now that you've ranted your bit:
      What should Yahoo have done?

      The choices were:
      A) Stop doing business in China
      B) Resisted the subpoena and gone to a Judge (See A or C)
      C) Complied with the subpoena

      What's your alternative?

      I'm all for freedom of speech, but when it comes to China, /.'s deskchair heros rarely seem to do more than denounce things as Really Bad(TM), without offering any ways to end up with something good.

      Less huffing and puffing, less snark, more solutions.

      • My alternative is not to be what amounts to a profiteer, and pull out. That's right. If China demands information be turned over, then Yahoo gives *them* the ultimatum; no information or Yahoo pulls out. In the really bad cases, which is guys like Cisco helping China build the Great Firewall, we should simply shut the company down, leave its broke investors to ponder that the West will not tolerate its technology being used in such a manner. At the very least, I'd make it unlawful for any corporation ba
    • Why, we were just following orders? You don't expect us to break the laws of other nations, do you?

      It works for Slashdot's baby Google, why not Yahoo?

  • by Token_Internet_Girl (1131287) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:08PM (#20050071)
    Normally I'd have something terrible to say, but in this case I think I'd say this: As much as we hate hearing about Paris Hilton 234987129371 times, Freedom of the Press is important, even though Fox abuses it incessantly.
    • by snowgirl (978879)
      Did you hear that Paris lost her inheritance? ...

      Oh wait... I'm on the wrong forum again. *goes back to her gossip webpages*
      • by johndiii (229824) *
        That was careless of her.

        Why'd you stop writing journal entries?
        • by snowgirl (978879)
          Life? hehe... I'll write one or another soon, if I find the time *laugh*

          Sorry, just been so busy with work, life, and relationships, that it's been a pretty low priority for me.
          • by johndiii (229824) *
            Yeah, I understand. All I've been doing is the poetry and the occasional odd news item. I have some things to write about, but no time to do them justice. Or, perhaps more honestly, when I do have the time, there are other things that are a higher priority. Which seems, in essence, to be "life". :-)

            That last JE of yours was very interesting, but then you seemed to drop off the map for a while. The relationship change got my attention, though. :-) I've been reading the front page more often again, beca
            • by snowgirl (978879)
              Yeah, the relationship change was to keep the poetry writing out of my message list, hehe... sorry ;)
              • by johndiii (229824) *
                Not a problem. You're not the first. I understand that they have limited appeal to some (maybe most) people. That's the reason those are tagged with the [Beloved] label - so that those who were not interested could delete them without having to investigate.

                I turned off messages for journal entries when they cut the retained messages from fifty to twenty-five. There were just too many, and they pushed out messages that I wanted to save. Now I read journal entries through the amigos [slashdot.org] page. So I only get
  • by viking80 (697716) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:43PM (#20050439) Journal
    I am impressed how international the Chinese police is. Local Chinese search warrants now issued in English and pdf format.

    Mao must be proud
  • "This new documentation suggests that Yahoo!'s Beijing office was at least aware of the general nature of the crime being investigated in the Shi Tao case," says Joshua Rosenzweig, manager of research and publications for The Dui Hua Foundation, "even if it was unaware of the specific circumstances or the name of the individual involved. One does not have to be an expert in Chinese law to know that 'state secrets' charges have often been used to punish political dissent in China."

    Thus sayeth an expert in

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by z-j-y (1056250)

      And yes, fellow nitpickers, I know there's supposed to be an exclamation point after Yahoo. However, as previously stated: fuck Yahoo !
      there, fixed for you
  • by z-j-y (1056250) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:51PM (#20050507)
    According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shi_Tao#Arrested_and_ imprisoned [wikipedia.org]

    (the document)asked all news media to not report anything regarding the so-called "June 4th event", Falun Gong or people calling for politico-social change.
    Wow, so that was the leaked state secret. The world had no idea.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417)
      Well, if the world uses Chinese Google [google.cn], it just might not...
    • from what i understand, more or less everyone except for chinese citizens know about it.

      in a very informal questioning (aka, discussion over dinner) by me regarding the great firewall of china with two chinese engineering interns doing a summer thing over here in the usa, one knew about tor and had used it and other proxies regularly to access wikipedia back when it was banned, and the other gave me a condescending grin and said basically sanitation of lies is good.

      i wonder if i should have asked about the
  • Tian AN men (Score:2, Informative)

    by TheTranceFan (444476)
    ...let's at least get the transliteration correct.

    It's Tiananmen Square. There's an "n" in there. I walked through through that very square [wikipedia.org] on Saturday.
  • Insight china under communist

    Wu Dahai
    Wenzhou, CHINA
    Nov. 2006

    Since the dream of democracy and freedom of The Great Father Sun Yat-sen who toppled the last emperor of Qing dynasty in the oriental land had been shattered by ambition of expansion of Japanese empire that destroyed the most armies of his successor. The communist derived from Germany rooted Russia deeply and viciously stretched the branch of root with both ITS Missionary and military conquest that intended to satisfy someone's ambitious dream to b
  • One does not have to be an expert in Chinese law to know that 'state secrets' charges have often been used to punish political dissent in China.

    Yes, but it could also mean that state secrets were indeed being stolen. "Could have" and "is" are two different things. It's not Yahoo's job to tell the difference, and if it becomes an issue, then the gov't in the future will just say "for an unspecified crime".
               
  • Everyone assumes the reporters are angelical. Ninety percent of Chinese reporters are dirty, low down scum who will say anything to get their name on the papers or on TV. This includes breaking the law to achieve it. I mean even recently with the cardboard dumplings - that's tame to what they concoct.

    Unfortunatly, most of it is in Chinese on BBS forums to spike a story which they can then later follow.

    Dunno about this chap though ;-) Who knows, perhaps he had a history we are not hearing about.

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