Yahoo!’s Chinese kowtow lands it in court

Yahoo! has come under fire in a lawsuit from a man -imprisoned for 10 years after the internet giant revealed his identity to the Chinese government.

In what is set to be a landmark case for US businesses operating overseas, Wang Xiaoning is suing Yahoo! after he was jailed by the Chinese courts for expressing pro-democratic views online.

The lawsuit has been filed under two US statutes that extend the principle of corporate responsibility to US businesses that aid and abet human rights violations connected with free speech.

Yahoo!’s somewhat shaky defence is that it must comply with Chinese laws, but a spokesman said: “We condemn punishment of any activity internationally recognised as free expression and have made our views clearly known to the Chinese government.”

Wang is flying in to London this week to attend an Amnesty International conference to discuss the struggle against internet repression.