Washington: Internet giant Yahoo has asked a US court to dismiss a lawsuit it called “political” and said its Chinese subsidiary obeyed local laws when it provided information about dissidents.
The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in San Francisco by the wife of a Yahoo user jailed in China for promoting democracy online, accuses Yahoo of “aiding and abetting” torture and human rights violations.
“Free speech rights as we understand them in the US are not the law in China,” Yahoo said in a statement yesterday (27 August). “Every sovereign nation has a right to regulate speech within its borders.”
Yahoo filed a motion to dismiss the case, saying it was compelled by Chinese law to hand over information to authorities including user registration information and email content.
The suit filed in April by the wife of Wang Xiaoning accuses Yahoo of helping Chinese officials track down her husband and of linking her husband and others to email and online comments.
Yahoo was referred to 10 times in the 2003 Chinese court verdict that declared Wang guilty of “incitement to subvert state power” and sentenced him to a decade in prison.
The suit also involves Shi Tao, who was convicted in 2005 of divulging state secrets after he posted a Chinese government order forbidding media organizations from marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising on the Internet.
“This is a political and diplomatic issue, not a legal one,” Yahoo spokeswoman Kelley Benander said, according to the Los Angeles Times.