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Yahoo! chief berated on China dissident

Nov. 6, 2007 at 5:55 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Yahoo! Inc. gave China information on journalist Shi Tao, then its general counsel lied about the company's role in Shi's arrest, a U.S. lawmaker alleges.

"While technologically and financially you are giants, morally you are pygmies," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, D-Calif., said Tuesday after hearing testimony from Yahoo Chief Executive and co-founder Jerry Chih-Yuan Yang and General Counsel Michael Callahan.

Yahoo! is working to get Shi released from a 10-year prison sentence, even though it has had no direct contact with Shi's family, but the Sunnyvale, Calif., Internet giant "could do better" to help the family, Yang acknowledged.

"You couldn't do less," said Lantos, one of several lawmakers of both parties who criticized Yahoo! at Tuesday's hearing, IDG News Service reported.

Lantos demanded the executives to apologize to Shi's mother, Gao Qinsheng, who was sitting directly behind them.

Yang said he wanted "to personally apologize" to the families of the dissidents "for what they are going through," adding Yahoo! was "committed to doing what we can to secure their freedom."

Shi, arrested in November 2004, had used his Yahoo! e-mail account to forward information about a Chinese government ban on reporting about the Tiananmen Square crackdown on the 15th anniversary of the protests.

Topics: Tom Lantos
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