Amnesty International, Yahoo and China

Here's what Amnesty International has to say about Yahoo and the imprisonment of dissident Shi Tao.

And here's an open letter to the Yahoo honchos. Amnesty International urges that it be sent to them by as many people as possible:

Dear Jerry Yang and David Filo,

I am writing to you to express my deep concern over recent allegations that your company has assisted authorities in China in events which led to the imprisonment of Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist. On April 27, 2005, Shi Tao received a ten-year prison term for sending information about a Communist Party decision through his Yahoo email account to a website based in the United States. Amnesty International considers him a Prisoner of Conscience, as he was imprisoned for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and opinion.

I am alarmed that in the pursuit of new and lucrative markets, your company is contributing to human rights violations. Yahoo should urgently give consideration to the human rights implications of its business operations. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights calls upon every organ of society, which includes companies, to respect human rights.

Yahoo’s conduct in Shi Tao’s case has exposed your company to the risk of being complicit in human rights violations. I therefore call upon Yahoo to:

• Use its influence to secure Shi Tao’s release
• Stop any actions that could undermine human rights in any country in which you operate
• Take immediate steps to ensure that all your units – the parent corporation and subsidiaries – uphold human rights responsibilities for companies, as outlined by the UN Norms for Business
• Develop an explicit human rights policy, ensuring that it complies with the UN Norms for Business.


It adds,

You can copy and paste this sample letter into an e-mail or a document to print out. If you are planning to write your own appeal please read our letter writing guide.

Please send appeals to:

Jerry Yang and David Filo
Co-founders, Chief Yahoo & Directors
Alternative emails:
Michael Callahan, Senior VP General Counsel:
Gregory Coleman, Exec VP Global Advertising Sales:

When sending your email, please email both Jerry Yang and David Filo.

Salutation: Dear Jerry Yang and David Filo

Yahoo Customer Care
Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, California 94089
If you can, call Yahoo Customer Care to make your points over the phone: 001-408-349-1572

The page linked to above also has a button for notifying Amnesty International that you have sent a letter or email to Yang and Filo, so that they can monitor the effort to win Yahoo back to the side of freedom and decency.