Feeds

Yahoo! Bows! To! Mum! Of! Jailed! Chinese! Journalist!

'We know we were wrong. But we didn't know it then'

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

As US lawmakers continue to probe Yahoo!'s role in the jailing of Chinese journalist Shi Tao, CEO Jerry Yang and chief counsel Michael Callahan have bowed to the journalist's mother. And we mean that literally.

This morning, Yang and Callahan appeared before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, which is investigating whether Callahan gave false testimony when discussing the Shi Tao case before Congress last year.

Insisting that Callahan's 2006 testimony was "untrue," chairman Tom Lantos excoriated the web company for sharing information about Shi's online activities with the Chinese government. Then he suggested that the two Yahooligans offer an instant apology to the journalist's family.

"When he first appeared before this Committee, I asked Mr. Callahan whether he had reached out to Shi Tao’s family to offer an apology and to provide assistance. The answer was a resounding 'no,'" Lantos said. "Mr. Yang, Mr. Callahan, Shi Tao’s mother is sitting in the first row right behind you – I would urge you to beg the forgiveness of the mother whose son is languishing behind bars due to Yahoo’s actions."

According to The Associated Press, Yang and Cahallan then turned and bowed to Gao Qinsheng. Crying, she bowed back.

In 2005, Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison for emailing a Communist Party document to a pro-democracy web site overseas. He used a Yahoo! account to send the document, and the company later gave his IP address to the Chinese government.

Lantos and the House Foreign Affairs Committee are now investigating if Michael Callahan gave false testimony when the committee first mulled the Shi's case in February 2006.

"Mr. Callahan has not been accused of perjury – that would be the willful violation of an oath either by swearing to what is untrue or by deliberately omitting information that is material," Lantos said this morning. "But as General Counsel for Yahoo! he did provide false information to this Committee in this critically-important hearing eighteen months ago."

During his 2006 testimony, Callahan claimed that Yahoo! had "no information about the nature of the investigation" when Chinese officials asked for Shi's information. But according to a bi-partisan committee investigation, this was not the case.

"Yahoo! claims that this is just one big misunderstanding, that Yahoo’s false testimony was really just a matter of an internal miscommunication," Lantos said. "Let me be clear – this was no misunderstanding. This was inexcusably negligent behavior at best, and deliberately deceptive behavior at worst."

And then he said it again.

Callahan admits that before turning over Shi's details, Yahoo! received a missive that said the Chinese government was investigating "a case of suspected illegal provision of state secrets to foreign entities." But he claims that he was not aware of this when he testified 18 months ago.

"I understand that my testimony in 2006 has caused confusion about what Yahoo! knew and didn’t know about the contents of a demand for information that Yahoo! China received from the Chinese government in the Shi Tao case," reads Callahan's latest statement to the committee. "This confusion, and my statements at the 2006 hearing, stem from a lack of information on my part, which I sincerely regret." ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.