The Chinese Communist Party's New Comrade: Yahoo's Collaboration with the Chinese Government in Jailing a Chinese Journalist and Yahoo's Possible Liability Under the Alien Torts Claim Act
62 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2009
Date Written: June 15, 2006
This Article, published in the summer of 2006, anticipated the suit brought by various Chinese citizens, under the Alien Tort Claims Act (“ATCA”), against the Internet company Yahoo in 2007. This Article provides an overview of the ATCA and the Internet in China. It then discusses the various violations of international law that Yahoo may have committed via its cooperation with the Chinese government. Yahoo continuously provided Chinese authorities the names of Chinese citizens using their Yahoo accounts to send information that the Chinese government found inappropriate. Yahoo played a key part in sending numerous Chinese journalists and other citizens to jail, sometimes for a decade or more.
Suit was filed in the spring of 2007. The Chinese citizens were represented by the World Human Rights Organizations, U.S.A. The author worked for the World Human Rights Organization as a volunteer, writing a major portion of the response to Yahoo’s Motion to Dismiss. The actual suit against Yahoo also claimed torture and inhumane punishment. These are crimes not addressed in the Article because the author assumed, but was not aware that the jailed journalists were being subjected to such treatment. Ultimately, however, Yahoo settled the case out of court for an undisclosed amount of money after public outcry, and after Yahoo’s CEO and General Counsel received a verbal tongue-lashing from various U.S. Representatives on the Hill.
Keywords: Alien Tort Claims Act, ATCA, Shi Tao, Tiananmen Square, Yahoo
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