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Monday, November 17, 2008

 

Goodbye Jerry Yang

It looks like this is goodbye to Yahoo Inc CEO and co-founder Jerry Yang. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that "Yang will step down after the company finds a replacement, closing a tumultuous and short tenure ..."

Shi Tao, however, continues to do time in a Chinese prison for reporting the news.

Under Yang's stewardship of Yahoo, the company played a major hand in the arrest of mainland Chinese journalist Shi Tao, who was eventually convicted by the communist government of China for “divulging state secrets abroad,” all because Tao used his Yahoo email address in 1989 to communicate with a pro-democracy Web site, informing its readers of an order by the Chinese government banning Chinese media from covering the fifteenth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Protests.

As Reporters Without Borders said in 2005, the cooperation of Yahoo with the Chinese government's effort to track down Tao, lowered Yang's company to the level of “a Chinese police informant.” To make it worse, Yang defended his company's actions as simply complying with local law in a country in which Yahoo did business, never mind international and US laws regarding the prohibition of selling "crime control and detection" equipment to the Chinese. It was, to put it more simply, just business.

As Reporters Without Borders said so well:
"It is one thing to turn a blind eye to the Chinese government’s abuses and it is quite another thing to collaborate.”
Perhaps the saddest part of Yang's departure is that the Chinese government probably won't deliver news of it to Shi Tao's cell.

— TJ Sullivan
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