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Friday, March 16, 2007

Yu Ling Says Yahoo Betrayed Her Husband

Wired reports on the story of Wang Xiaoning, an internet writer who was jailed partly due to information Yahoo passed on to the Chinese government, and the story of his wife, who now entered the US to hold Yahoo accountable for their complicity. Five years ago, this is what happened:

Early one Sunday morning in 2002, a phone rings in Yu Ling’s Beijing duplex. She’s cleaning upstairs; her son is asleep, while downstairs, her husband, Wang Xiaoning, is on the computer. Wang writes about politics, anonymously e-mailing his online e-journals to a group of Yahoo users. He’s been having problems with his Yahoo service recently. He thinks it’s a technical issue. This is the day he learns he’s wrong.

Wang picks up the phone: “Yes?”

“Are you home?” asks the unfamiliar voice on the other end.


The line goes dead.

Moments later, government agents swarm through the front door – 10 of them, some in uniform, some not. They take Wang away. They take his computers and disks. They shove an official notice into Yu’s hands, tell her to keep quiet, and leave. This is how it’s done in China. This is how the internet police grab you.

Wired quotes a Yahoo spokesperson with an excuse that has been used by many others throughout history: “We are required to follow the laws”. Let’s hope Yahoo’s CEO will repeat this to Yu Ling and hear out what she has to tell him.


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