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March 29, 2006


Rebecca MacKinnon

I am not telling them to flout laws and regulations. I'm saying they can choose not to do business (such as email with data inside the PRC) which puts them in the position of aiding human rights abuses when they follow the law. It's also true that foreign companies in China can be successful in getting laws and regulations changed. So I'm not saying flout the law. I'm saying do your business more selectively, and lobby more actively to change laws and regulations that put you in a bad position as far as the user's interests are concerned.


Ignore the Michael Griffiths of the world. His implicit multiculturalist premise is that there is no such thing as right and wrong; all we have is the rules laid down by our own herd.

Fight the good fight Rebecca, in spite of those nut jobs!

Alex Moskalyuk

This is dumb. When Yahoo! gets a subpoena from the authorities, they don't tell Yahoo! whether they're looking for a kiddie porn distributor, serial rapist or political dissident. The only thing the authorities say is that the person is involved in criminal investigation.

Therefore at the time of serving the information to the authorities the company has little clue as far as what this or that individual has done.

Perhaps you could start a campaign against Chinese products in order to force China to treat political dissidents differently from criminals? Oh wait, another price rollback at local WalMart!


rebecca wrote: " which puts them in the position of aiding human rights abuses when they follow the law."

Wait, is the PRC abusing human rights because of Yahoo? I don't think so. When Yahoo gave information that led to Zhao Yan's arrest, Zhao Yan was using Yahoo email to communicate state secrets. Constitution of PRC clearly stated the limitations of private corresondence in Article 40. This is standard international practice. In the US, Title 18 Code section 2516 provides for interception of private communication to aid in criminal investigation.

"Article 40. Privacy of correspondence

Freedom and privacy of correspondence of citizens of the People's Republic of China are protected by law. No organization or individual may, on any ground, infringe on citizens' freedom of privacy of correspondence, except in cases where to meet the needs of state security or of criminal investigation, public security or procuratorial organs are permitted to censor correspondence in accordance with procedures prescribed by law."

US law on intercepting private communication, Sec. 2516. Authorization for interception of wire, oral, or
electronic communications:



It seems some people interpret the situation wrongly. As far as I understand, the problem is not so much the way yahoo acted to solve the problem (disclose information to the chinese government), but the fact that there was a problem at all.

If yahoo didn't host its email in China, this whole situation could have been avoided.

On the other hand, when opening a yahoo.cn account, you must realize that your email will be hosted in China, and subject to chinese laws.


As long as one has done nothing against the law, one has nothing to fear or hide. I still keep my email at yahoo.com.cn



Michael Griffiths said: A company should abide by the laws of the country they are in.
see: http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2006/03/yahoo_abominati.html

I have 3 simple questions

1. What IS a "law" and what IS NOT a law? Is any "orders" and "rules" definitely legal "laws"?

2. When George Washington was fighting with the British for United States of America, did he "abide by the laws" of the country he lived in?

3. Should a company "abide by the laws of" the Nazi Germany to help in the massacre of Jewish people in the 1940's?

Please kindly answer me these questions.


Please don't be fooled by those people repeating "law" here. :)

THERE IS NO "LAW" IN CHINA. This is the basic fact that the discussion should be based on.


Mr. Mahathir should not hide his bank account information, otherwise he is a criminal. :)

Please tell us.

As long as one has done nothing against the law, one has nothing to fear or hide. I still keep my email at yahoo.com.cn

Posted by: mahathir_fan | April 01, 2006 at 06:56 PM

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