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The House Committee on Foreign Affairs is calling Yahoo! chief executive Jerry Yang to a hearing on 6 November to explain why the company lied to Congress in early 2006 about its knowledge of the investigation into Chinese journalist Shi Tao.

Shi Tao ended up with a 10 year prison sentence, but Yahoo! told Congress it knew nothing about the nature of the investigation.

Committee chairman Tom Lantos said: "Last year, in sworn testimony before my subcommittee, a Yahoo! official testified that the company knew nothing 'about the nature of the investigation' into Shi Tao, a pro-democracy activist who is now serving 10 years on trumped up charges.

"We have now learned there is much more to the story than Yahoo! let on, and a Chinese government document that Yahoo! had in their possession at the time of the hearing left little doubt of the government's intentions."

In August of this year, Yahoo! accused Lantos of rushing to judgement and said its testimony was truthful.

The company is also facing a private lawsuit brought by Shi Tao's mother.

Yahoo! has maintained that it was only following local laws in handing over Shi Tao's emails and IP addresses. The company has been criticised, along with Microsoft, Google and other service providers, of failing to stand up to Chinese demands by groups including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders.

The press release from the House Committee is here. ®

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