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Yahoo! has hit back at claims by a US Senate committee that it covered up its involvement in handing over information to Chinese authorities which led to the arrest and detention of four Chinese citizens.

In a statement the company said: “Yahoo!’s testimony was truthful, and while we regret Chairman Lantos is rushing to judgment, we look forward to working with Chairman Lantos to explain the facts surrounding the case. Yahoo! will continue to cooperate fully with the committee.

“Yahoo! has been candid about the challenges of doing business in markets like China, including where local subsidiaries of U.S. companies must comply with local laws.

“We believe deeply in human rights, and our senior executives have condemned punishment of any activity internationally recognized as free expression, whether in China or anywhere else in the world. We are actively engaged with our peers and human rights organizations as well as with the State Department on initiatives to protect free expression and privacy globally.”

Shi Tao, the Chinese journalist arrested after Yahoo! handed authorities details of his emails and IP addresses, is currently suing Yahoo! in the US courts for damages. He is also appealing against his ten year prison sentence in China.

Documents released yesterday suggested Chinese authorities made clear to Yahoo! why they were seeking the information.

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