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Yahoo! Accused of Lying to Congress about Chinese Journalist

CmdrTaco posted about 7 years ago | from the summon-the-yang dept.

Yahoo! 122

verybadradio writes "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."

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Help needed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21009319)

Hi,

I recently purchased some niggers but they did not come with any documentation. As such I am finding it very difficult to make them do any work. How can I motivate them? Is there some kind of instruction manual around?

Thanks,

CmdrTaco

Re:Help needed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21009351)

They run on D batteries

Embarassment (1)

Yoweigh116 (185130) | about 7 years ago | (#21009343)

The answer to that question will basically be an obfuscated version of "because it would have sounded bad."

Sucky sucky! Five dolla! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21009395)

That is what the Chinese journalist said to Yahoo.

have we learned nothing from our leaders? (2)

Evets (629327) | about 7 years ago | (#21009357)

All Yang has to do is say "I was misinformed" and "I was not directly involved". This is a non-story.

Re:have we learned nothing from our leaders? (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | about 7 years ago | (#21009521)

You mean that he should continue lying?

Re:have we learned nothing from our leaders? (2, Funny)

faloi (738831) | about 7 years ago | (#21009635)

"I did not have sexual relations with that government!"

Re:have we learned nothing from our leaders? (4, Insightful)

Critical Facilities (850111) | about 7 years ago | (#21010053)

"I did not have consensual sexual relations with that government!"

Fixed that for you. Getting screwed by the government still counts.

Alberto Gonzalez set the precedent: (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | about 7 years ago | (#21009935)

I don't recall that meeting. I don't remember the specifics. I don't have any recollection of that.

Re:Alberto Gonzalez set the precedent: (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 7 years ago | (#21012165)

Actually, the Clinton's beat him to it by a few years.

Re:Alberto Gonzalez set the precedent: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21012365)

Reagan as well. It's quite a classic ploy.

Re:have we learned nothing from our leaders? (2, Insightful)

CRWeaks23 (980922) | about 7 years ago | (#21009989)

All Yang has to do is say "I was misinformed" and "I was not directly involved".
Woah, that's giving up way too much information.

"I do not recall" will suffice, with a "I cannot recollect" thrown in once in a while for good measure.

Re:have we learned nothing from our leaders? (2, Insightful)

DarthGregor (905084) | about 7 years ago | (#21010415)

I wish there was a "+1 sad but true" ...

Re:have we learned nothing from our leaders? (1)

ragefan (267937) | about 7 years ago | (#21010985)

All Yang has to do is say "I was misinformed" and "I was not directly involved". This is a non-story.
Or Yahoo could use the Telco defense [slashdot.org] : "The Bush Administration told us it was illegal to disclose that to Congress."

Re:have we learned nothing from our leaders? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 7 years ago | (#21011013)

As weak as this pansy Congress is, he could probably stand up, tell them "Fuck off," moon them, and walk out. And they wouldn't do a damn thing about it except maybe hold another hearing that everyone would also ignore.

Re:have we learned nothing from our leaders? (1)

tedrlord (95173) | about 7 years ago | (#21012095)

I'm sure they'd do something about it. They'd get together to pass a non-binding resolution formally condemning his actions as impolite. Of course, it would fail by 2 votes short of the 60% needed to keep the Republicans from filibustering, and they'd have to take it off the table until next year.

Re:have we learned nothing from our leaders? (2, Insightful)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | about 7 years ago | (#21011085)

"This is a non-story."

You must be kidding! Lying to Congress under oath. You are just suggesting that a different lie would have gotten Yang off the hook. You are suggesting a safer lie for him. But that core issue here is what does it mean to "be under oath" esp to Congress who is trying to get at the "Truth". That is what you swear and oath to, to tell the "Truth". If we have no way to get at the truth, or have a way to compel a person to tell the truth, then we in deep trouble. Right now it is fines and jail time that is the penalty if you lie under oath.

If as you suggest that lying under oath is OK and desirable then as a liar you would need to come up with a way to, at some point, when you needed to actually get the truth, (because you were in some position of authority, say Congress, the courts, the police, the army, the IRS) you would have to fall back on some other form of getting at the truth that did not rely on the persons morality or ethics or consent. Especially if you were a liar yourself you would assume the worst in a person and that they would not willingly tell the truth unless it benefitted them. Well that would leave only torture and other forms of coersion, such as "rendition" and detention without Habius Corpus. Now where have we seen that sort of behaviour pop up. Maybe that is because the people doing it would not tell the truth themselves unless it benefitted them.

As this being a non-story. I think not. I think it is a central story about where the business community and our leadership has gotten to, and we need to keep the heat on to try and turn this Titanic around before those lies sink this constitutional ship.

Re:have we learned nothing from our leaders? (1)

uniquename72 (1169497) | about 7 years ago | (#21012021)

Jeez, calm down.

All he's suggesting is that one more lie ("I don't remember") will make this all go away, and that'll be the end of it. So no, there's no story here.

Re:have we learned nothing from our leaders? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21012605)

When you're ruled by a bunch of liars, both historically and presently, why should you tell the truth if it's not to your benefit?

The ethics/moral side of it is LONG GONE.
You can't ask your people (be they rich or poor), to stand up straight and spill their guts if you yourself are a symbol of a state or governing system which has gone so far into corruption that it's basically one of those things that everyone knows but no one really wants to talk (or do anything) about. (unless they can use that to shove the entire blame of something onto their leaders and use them as a scapegoat, that is)

Re:have we learned nothing from our leaders? (1)

Evets (629327) | about 7 years ago | (#21012855)

I don't necessarily disagree that lying to congress should be a story. I was just pointing out the sad fact that in the face of contrary facts, our political leaders have shown us repeatedly over the last what - 20 years - that "I don't recall" saves the liar from any repercussions whatsoever.

Re:have we learned nothing from our leaders? (1)

chriso11 (254041) | about 7 years ago | (#21014083)

Unless it's a blow job.

Lynching (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21009379)

Did anyone else read Yahoo! Congress Accused of Lynching Chinese Journalist?

Where's Terry Semel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21009381)

I mean, it is alright to call it corporate responsibility - but the guy who was in charge then has retired, hasn't he?

pot.kettle.black (4, Insightful)

night_flyer (453866) | about 7 years ago | (#21009383)

Yahoo was doing what was required to do business in China & considering how the US Gov't has bent over to facilitate China, they have no room to talk.

Re:pot.kettle.black (3, Interesting)

MeditationSensation (1121241) | about 7 years ago | (#21009415)

True, but that excuse is so tired. No one *has* to do business with China. Choosing profit over human rights is forced on no one.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | about 7 years ago | (#21009757)

Yeah, but with torture in Gitmo, warrentless wiretapping, etc. that argument doesn't fly either.

Preaching one thing and then turning around and doing the opposite is called hypocricy. Preaching one thing and ignoring it when your friend is doing the opposite is just as bad, if not worse.

If AT&T can get immunity for the same violations committed within the US on US citizens, why not Yahoo?

I'm not saying you're wrong; all I'm saying is, the public and hence the ruling class in the United States needs to clean up their own house before they start pointing out how dirty everyone else's is.

Re:pot.kettle.black (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about 7 years ago | (#21009837)

I'm not saying you're wrong; all I'm saying is, the public and hence the ruling class in the United States needs to clean up their own house before they start pointing out how dirty everyone else's is.

By that logic until we have stamped out police corruption 100%, no police officer anywhere should arrest anyone.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | about 7 years ago | (#21010953)

Well, let's just say that it's a LOT less effective to complain about human right violations in another country when you've got a list of human rights violations that your own country is violating being splashed across the pages of just about every newspaper and web site.

Although I have no doubts that kind of crap has gone on throughout history, at least in the past it was kept secret enough & at a low enough level that a lot of Americans could deny that it was happening.

Now it's so blatant that some people have given up trying to deny it, and turn around and try and JUSTIFY it. Strangely enough, any justification used for our own country's behavior is logically applicable to every other country's behavior.

Do you really think it's effective to complain about another country's human rights violations in that context?

As far as your example goes, would you be inclined to believe a police officer was arresting people for good reasons if you had been hearing nothing but news about how all of the officers from the department that officer came from were arresting random people with no more stated purpose "they looked suspicious"?

Re:pot.kettle.black (2, Insightful)

Xonstantine (947614) | about 7 years ago | (#21009859)

A couple of hundred people forcibly detained at gitmo hardly compares with what goes on in China on a daily basis. We're talking about a country that doesn't like people who stretch in public, so they execute them and then harvest their organs. And that's just one of a myriad of evils the Chinese regime commits.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

gardyloo (512791) | about 7 years ago | (#21010009)

Sometimes it's hard to tell where mere hyperbole transitions into unadulterated mornoic hatred.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

gardyloo (512791) | about 7 years ago | (#21010661)

Heaven knows I'd definitely ding someone else on this, so I might as well do it now...

mornoic
Heh.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

Basehart (633304) | about 7 years ago | (#21013031)

Nice one. I didn't even notice anything was amiss until you did the right thing and busted your ass. IMHO it was a lot easier to check these things before submitting when they had the Preview button in a more obvious place.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

Xonstantine (947614) | about 7 years ago | (#21011037)

Are you talking about Gitmo hyperbole or hyperbole about the Chinese?

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about 7 years ago | (#21010323)

country that doesn't like people who stretch in public, so they execute them and then harvest their organs.

Mods, this is not "insightful". It's insanely exaggerated.

Re:pot.kettle.black (2, Informative)

Xonstantine (947614) | about 7 years ago | (#21010991)

Mods, this is not "insightful". It's insanely exaggerated.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Falun_Gong#Allegations_of_organ_harvesting [wikipedia.org]

Although involuntary organ donations are illegal under Chinese law, critics say Beijing does not enforce the policy. In 2001, a Chinese doctor applying for political asylum revealed that he had removed organs from executed prisoners for the transplant market under the auspices of the People's Liberation Army. He claimed that he had operated to remove skin and corneas from executed criminals, and that other doctors sometimes took organs from bodies while their hearts were still beating.[79]

On 9 March 2006, allegations were made of organ harvesting on living Falun Gong practitioners at the China Traditional Medicine Thrombosis Treatment Center, Sujiatun in Shenyang, a joint-venture with Malaysian healthcare company Country Heights Health Sanctuary and subject to oversight in Liaoning province.

According to two witnesses interviewed by The Epoch Times, internal organs of living Falun Gong practitioners have been harvested and sold to the black market, and the bodies were cremated in the hospital's boiler room. They also claim some six thousand practitioners have been held captive at the hospital since 2001, two-thirds of whom have died to date. Removed organs include hearts, kidneys, livers and cornea. The witnesses alleged nobody came out alive.

The Chinese Government accused Falun Gong of fabricating the "Sujiatun concentration camp" issue, reiterating that as a WHO Member State, China resolutely abides by the WHO 1991 Guiding Principles on Human Organ Transplants and strictly forbids the sale of human organs. It added that Sujiatun District government carried out an investigation at the hospital and invited local and foreign media, including NHK and Phoenix Satellite Network; and two visits were paid by US consular personnel, who confirmed that the hospital was completely incapable of housing more than 6,000 persons; there was no basement for incarcerating practitioners; there was simply no way to cremate corpses in secret, continuously, and in large volumes in the hospital's boiler/furnace room.

In July 2006, human rights lawyers David Kilgour and David Matas, concluded an investigation in response to a request by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of the Falun Gong in China (CIPFG), a U.S.-based, front organization of the Falun Dafa Association.[80] Their 69-page report[81] gave credence to the allegations of China's harvesting organs from live Falun Gong practitioners.[82][19]The Christian Science Monitor states that the report's evidence is circumstantial, but persuasive.[83] Kilgour said. "Our findings are shocking. To us, this is a form of evil we have yet to see on this planet."[19]

Might want to take up the insane exaggeration argument with the CSM, not me.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about 7 years ago | (#21012369)

I didn't say the falun Gong weren't persecuted.

We're talking about a country that doesn't like people who stretch in public, so they execute them and then harvest their organs

The reason I said this was an exaggeration:

The Chinese government is NOT persecuting them because they "stretch in public", but because they are a cult, like Scientology, with millions of members with a secretive Messianic leader. And they remember the Boxer Rebellion. It really is a threat to the Communist Party.

You imply that many Falun Gong have been executed and had their organs harvested. How many?

Who wrote the cited Wikipedia entry? Executed prisoners have had their organs harvested, but that's a separate issue. I don't think anyone is arrested in order to harvest their organs, even in China, it's not necessary, there are plenty of condemned criminals, it's as bad as Texas.

I don't mind the Falun Gong myself, I live in Hong Kong and see many here, but they are not normal people by any standard.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

hondo77 (324058) | about 7 years ago | (#21011921)

So if the US is not quite as evil as China, that's okay?

Re:pot.kettle.black (5, Insightful)

Xonstantine (947614) | about 7 years ago | (#21012349)

So if the US is not quite as evil as China, that's okay?
Pretty much. Governments, countries, states, bureaucracies, people are not perfect nor are they perfectable. All states, even little old Andorra, do evil things from time to time. Very few institutionalize evil on the scale of depravity similar to Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia. Communist China is one of those states that has done so, and continues to do so.

People don't like that 200 or so Jihadis are being held in Gitmo without a trial. Yeah, I get it. It still pales in significant to the prison factory archipelago that is being run in China. And while libs like to pat themselves on the back every time they call Bush a fascist, China really is an emerging fascist state. The idea that we can't criticize China because we aren't perfect ourselves is stupid. Really, really stupid.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

hondo77 (324058) | about 7 years ago | (#21012793)

People don't like that 200 or so Jihadis are being held in Gitmo without a trial. Yeah, I get it. It still pales in significant to the prison factory archipelago that is being run in China.

I know I'm an idealist but I really don't like the "Yeah, we're committing acts of evil but they're not as evil as China," argument. I like the bar set a bit higher.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

Xonstantine (947614) | about 7 years ago | (#21014305)

I know I'm an idealist but I really don't like the "Yeah, we're committing acts of evil but they're not as evil as China," argument. I like the bar set a bit higher.
You might be an idealist when it comes to stuff like that, but I'm afraid your down here in purgatory with the rest of us when it comes to argumentive etiquette. The problem is, no one was defending the US by point out the faults of China. Rather, people were defending China by pointing out the faults of the United States. To which I replied, our faults, as significant and serious though they are, pale in comparison to China's, and by no means absolve China from criticism and in of themselves. If you want to complain about the US, there's usually two or three threads on /. a day regarding that without having to sandbag on a complain about China thread too.

Re:pot.kettle.black (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#21009939)

"If AT&T can get immunity for the same violations committed within the US on US citizens, why not Yahoo?"
Huh???????
When has anyone in the US gone to jail for publishing a blog critical of the US government?
You are lacking a sense of proportion. I am not saying that the US is perfect but give me a break.
I suggest you go to genocide watch and look at the number of deaths attributed to the Chinese government. I would like to see an investigation of what is going on at Gitmo but you do know that prisoners of war are NOT protected by the US constitution and never have been. They have no right to a trial or legal counsel. Trying to apply constitutional protections too them is invalid. There are international agreements on the treatment of prisoners of war and those should apply. As I said develop a sense of proportion. The US civil rights record and China's are worlds apart. The one thing they share is that they are both not perfect. Of of the big differences is that you are free to complain and comment on the failings of the US system without going to jail.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

mdozturk (973065) | about 7 years ago | (#21010211)

Really? What about the guy in University of Florida that got tazered and thrown in jail?

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

Khaed (544779) | about 7 years ago | (#21010367)

He was asked to leave an event by event security. He did not. He resisted. I don't particularly like tasers, but the guy was given every opportunity to comply.

When you are asked by the security of the place you happen to be to leave, you leave. You don't have a "right" to be just anywhere, especially if you're being disruptive.

Also, more was made of the story than it was because he happened to be slamming a politician and so everyone jumped on the "free speech!" bandwagon. But he was only non-compliant when cameras were on him; the guy set out to make trouble.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about 7 years ago | (#21011851)

Did he die from his tazer wounds? How many decades did he spend in jail?

It sucks, but what happened to him isn't comparable to Chinese policy.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#21012389)

Okay then let's see. I said, "When has anyone in the US gone to jail for publishing a blog critical of the US government?"
Was he tazered and thrown in jail for publishing a blog? Or was it for disturbing the peace?
Freedom of speech doesn't mean that you can go into any location of your choosing and start screaming your head off about anything you like. From what I understand he was asked to leave by security and refused. When they tried to remove him he resisted physically.
Again a sense of perspective is in order. How many years is he going to spend in jail? Was he killed? Tell you what go to China and find a location where a high government official is speaking. Start yelling your protests there and then I think you will see the difference.

Re:pot.kettle.black (0, Flamebait)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | about 7 years ago | (#21011749)

When has anyone in the US gone to jail for publishing a blog critical of the US government?

That's because the politicos in the U.S. are MUCH more advanced about manipulating the media than in China.

They don't have to throw anybody in jail (which can given credence to someone's message) when they can use the media to completely discredit anybody whose message starts becoming dangerous.

Once someone has been discredited in the eyes of the public, it becomes very difficult for them to say ANYTHING that will be taken seriously, even if what they're saying is perfectly true. People will (in some cases actively) rationalize why that person must be wrong.

I would like to see an investigation of what is going on at Gitmo but you do know that prisoners of war are NOT protected by the US constitution and never have been. They have no right to a trial or legal counsel. Trying to apply constitutional protections too them is invalid.

You are incorrect on a couple fronts.

1) The power of the U.S. Constitution (including the Bill of Rights + all of its amendments) applies to EVERYONE in U.S. jurisdiction, not just citizens.

There are only a few places in the Constitution which are specific to citizens, and they mainly have to do with defining who gets to vote, and who they get to vote for. Statutory law might be more specific, but there's nothing in the Constitution that prevents anyone under U.S. jurisdiction from receiving the same level of human rights protections as its citizens.

2) The U.S. Constitution specifically says that treaties that the U.S. is signatory to, must be given the same priority as the "law of the land". I suspect that the Founders wanted to reassure the rest of the world that the U.S. would take treaty obligations seriously, and not just blow off promises in the next session of Congress.

This includes the Geneva Convention, which has all that prisoner-of-war stuff that you (and the Administration) seem to be so intent on ignoring.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#21012249)

"This includes the Geneva Convention, which has all that prisoner-of-war stuff that you (and the Administration) seem to be so intent on ignoring."
Really in what part of my statement did I say we shouldn't follow international law in respect to POWs?

My exact statement in my post in regards to that was this.
"There are international agreements on the treatment of prisoners of war and those should apply."
I also said "I would like to see an investigation of what is going on at Gitmo "
So sir you.
a. Only read what you want to read.
or
b. Are willing to lie because you feel your point of view is more important than the truth.

In times of war certain constitutional freedoms maybe suspended. That is the way it has been since the founding of the US. The "laws" that apply to POWs are very different from the laws that apply to criminals and for good reason. If not then you could try any POW for murder that you want too and not just those that violate the rules of war.
Now as too how many constitutional freedoms have been suspended and if that they are appropriate at this time is a totally different discussion. I do feel that most of the rules as they are applied to citizens are not appropriate for the current threat.

But that like discussion like the original post have nothing to do with the US's stance on Yahoos actions in China. This whole the US has not right to criticize China's actions is just a red heiring to distract people from Yahoo's actions, China's actions, or to criticize the US's actions.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

jrp2 (458093) | about 7 years ago | (#21012527)

"There are international agreements on the treatment of prisoners of war and those should apply"

That would be nice, but we do not adhere to the Geneva Conventions on POWs as we have defined these folks as "Enemy Combatants". They have very limited access to the Red Cross, amongst many other issues. IANAL, but I believe if they are not POWs, they are criminals, and should be afforded legal counsel and access to the court system. Creating this new category is a sham and embarrassing to me (and many others) as an American.

Yes, I agree, it is hard to compare the US to China in regards to human rights. But, as the crusaders for freedom, we should hold ourselves to a much higher standard. Why is the government so scared to allow the courts to be involved and have lawyers representing them? Could it be that they know most (almost certainly not all) of the prisoners are guilty of nothing or very little?

As Americans we were taught (brainwashed perhaps) that our system of justice is far superior to all others. That the checks and balances of our system will check abuse, and everyone will have their day in court. I could go on and on about warrants, judicial oversight, etc.

Your point on government criticism is valid, we are pretty free in that regard (this post is a great example). But freedom of speech is just one right "guaranteed" in our constitution. There are many others, and they are being rolled over like a bug under a steamroller. And not just in regards to the war on terror, but the 2nd amendment, equal protection under the law (gay marriage amongst other issues), wiretaps without judicial oversight, etc.

"Strange things are afoot at the Circle K"

Re:pot.kettle.black (2, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | about 7 years ago | (#21010663)

Enough with the torture in Gitmo. This myth was blown away by Democrats themselves when they sent several Dem lawmakers down there and returned to confirm this was not true. We're supposed to be more intelligent here as geeks. Enough with the "if we keep saying it, then it's true" mentality. I don't agree with everything this administration does but I'm not willing to perpetuate non-truths to show others I'm on their "team." This crap is tearing the country apart.

Re:pot.kettle.black (2, Insightful)

jrp2 (458093) | about 7 years ago | (#21011905)

"Enough with the torture in Gitmo. This myth was blown away by Democrats themselves when they sent several Dem lawmakers down there and returned to confirm this was not true."

Yeah, I can just picture the walk-through by the congressman. "OK everyone, ignore the dudes in the suits, just keep doing what we always do". Like they would actually be doing this stuff when there are congresscritters watching!

That said, most of the torture allegations did not occur at Gitmo. They occurred at secret CIA and military jails, and foreign jails (such as in Egypt). They have not really denied it either, just redefined the term "torture" to not include what they were/are doing, and/or outsourced it to other governments.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

jav1231 (539129) | about 7 years ago | (#21012429)

At Gitmo the opposite has occurred. Torture was dumbed down to include being made to stand for long periods of time.
I can't say anything about the CIA jails but I wouldn't doubt your assertion.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 7 years ago | (#21009783)

True, but that excuse is so tired. No one *has* to do business with China. Choosing profit over human rights is forced on no one.
Is the crime that Yahoo officials lied or that they helped violate someone's human rights?

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

BgJonson79 (129962) | about 7 years ago | (#21009987)

Both are crimes. They're not mutually exclusive.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | about 7 years ago | (#21009811)

I don't think we should be expecting companies to boycott business based on human rights records. These people have enough hardships without companies refusing to provide them services based on the actions of their unrepresentative government. It's not fair on the companies or the people.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

mrlibertarian (1150979) | about 7 years ago | (#21009963)

No one *has* to do business with China. Choosing profit over human rights is forced on no one.

But Yahoo didn't choose to violate someone else's rights; the Chinese government did. Yahoo may have known what the Chinese government would do, but that doesn't make Yahoo responsible for the government's actions. If a woman knows that a rapist is hanging out in a dark alley, but she walks into the dark alley anyway, is she responsible for the rape that follows?

By the way, Yahoo is not only making profits; it is also providing a service to Chinese consumers. If Yahoo withdraws, then the Chinese consumers will lose as well.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about 7 years ago | (#21010403)

Yahoo may have known what the Chinese government would do, but that doesn't make Yahoo responsible for the government's actions. If a woman knows that a rapist is hanging out in a dark alley,...

Consider that the reporter knew that a Chinese company would hand him over on a platter, so he thought he could trust an American company to protect his privacy (and his liberty, in this case). But like many people who have trusted America to live up to its ideals, he was screwed.

Re:pot.kettle.black (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 7 years ago | (#21011751)

Just remember. Humans are expendable. The only thing that counts in America is profits. People, particularly in other parts of the world, exist solely so that American shareholders can get big bucks. Corporations are the only things that should ever be considered, and if they sell out people abroad, or hell, release phone records without warrant to agents of the US government, well, they should be allowed to. It's what Jesus wants. Jesus loves profits, hates anyone who thinks profits should take a distant second place to human rights. Jesus is all about the money, and America is all about Jesus. Only atheists and baby-eating secularists give a shit about Chinese dissidents. Jesus hates the Chinese, except when they bring lots of money to Jesus's favorite entities in the entire Universe; corporations.

God Bless Corporate America, And Fuck Everything Else.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | about 7 years ago | (#21014261)

While the above is marked Funny, this isn't far fetched. China is our cheap (almost free) labor arms. As much as I hate to admit. US should go to hell to keep the communists happy. God forbid if we had to pay $7 US an hour per person for labor, everything around us will be unaffordable instantly.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

nelsonal (549144) | about 7 years ago | (#21011147)

We do assign some blame (not the same level but some) to the guy who procures the GHB for the serial rapist, though.

fuck pot.kettle.black (1)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | about 7 years ago | (#21012159)

no, it's more like you work for a known rapist, and he asks you when your sister walks to school.
Do you tell him just to keep your job or do you refuse, and probably lose your job?
China is a known violator of human rights (might as well be rapist, IMHO). Just because they give Yahoo money doesn't make them trustworthy.
Not telling the truth to Congress to cover up the crappy things you do, in the name of profit, is still a crime.
No amount of "well, the US Government does bad thing, too" will make it ok. My mother taught me that two wrongs do not make a right.

Lying under oath isn't required (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | about 7 years ago | (#21009801)

I'm sorry, but lying under oath isn't exactly a legal requirement.

You'll notice that they're not accusing him of human rights violations, they're accusing him of lying to congress. If I read it right, in a sworn testimony too.

So let's put _that_ defense away already. They're not condemning Yahoo for doing business with China. Period.

Plus,

1. it cuts both ways. If he's supposed to comply with Chinese laws and regulations to do business in China, then by the same logic he's supposed to comply with US rules and regulations to do business in the US. That includes such concepts as, basically, that you're not supposed to lie in a sworn testimony.

2. "But <insert other arsehole> is doing it too!" is a defense that was considered laughable even in kindergarten. If Johnny was hitting other kids, it wasn't considered an invitation to do the same even in kindergarten. So it's equally laughable to see it used to defend all around immoral business practices.

3. Especially when it's based on a very warped notion of what it means "doing it too." I don't think the US government officially aided China in hunting down its disidents. There's a big difference between (A) turning a blind eye to someone else doing something wrong, when you can't prevent it anyway, and (B) actively aiding them in doing it. To give an example, it's the difference between, (A) ignoring a bank robbery in progress, since I can't dodge bullets anyway, (B) actually driving the escape car for the robbers. Neither is "knight in shiny armour", but it takes a very disfunctional view of the world to put an equals sign between the two. Neither is white, but they're very different shades of grey.

So to cut it even shorter: just because someone else isn't 100% pure paladin-in-shiny-armour defender-of-all-oppressed, it's not a blank-cheque excuse to be an outright arsehole.

4. I'm sorry, but "cost of doing business" isn't a moral wildcard excuse. You don't have a sacred human right to make a profit at all cost, and it doesn't supersede all other moral and legal expectations.

Sure, we're glad for you if you do manage to make a profit. Kudos and more power to you, and we might even admire you for it.

But if you're an arsehole in the name of doing business and making a profit... well, you're still an arsehole.

Re:Lying under oath isn't required (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 7 years ago | (#21011437)

Why would he have been under oath?

Even if he were, what are this bunch of pussies going to do about it? Actually, that may very well be his response.

Re:Lying under oath isn't required (1)

khallow (566160) | about 7 years ago | (#21012927)

Why would he have been under oath?

Standard procedure for testifying in front of Congress or a congressional committee.

Even if he were, what are this bunch of pussies going to do about it? Actually, that may very well be his response.

Perjury is a criminal offense. Congress is notoriously lenient on perjury, but that defense would probably put him in jail.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 7 years ago | (#21009921)

considering how the US Gov't has bent over to facilitate China, they have no room to talk.

Why does everyone here always talk about the U.S. government like it's one monolithic entity? The executive branch (both this one and the previous one, admittedly) have turned a blind eye to China's activities. However, there are sizeable factions in Congress (in both parties, though for different reasons) who have always willing to criticize China.

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

jsse (254124) | about 7 years ago | (#21010017)

Yahoo was doing what was required to do business in China & considering how the US Gov't has bent over to facilitate China, they have no room to talk.
You may be right, but the general public in China does not seem to understand Yahoo!'s difficulties.

Before the case, Jerry Yang is a role model of entrepreneur among youngsters in China

After the case, nobody would want to talk about him. No more press on his successful stories, no more study or discussion in college on his way of success. No one wants to write book about success of Yahoo! since.

We just don't want to mention anything about him.

Yahoo! was just having bad luck? You bet. Shi Tao is definitely not the only activist speaking openly, do they all end up like Shi Tao? Jerry Yang needs to ask himself.

Re:pot.kettle.black (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21010787)

the thing is congress is pissed because yahoo bent over for china but not for them, who congress bent over for doesnt really matter

Re:pot.kettle.black (1)

Kingrames (858416) | about 7 years ago | (#21012191)

There are quite a few things that the US is (supposed to be) able to do that businesses are not (supposed to be) able to do.

They'll take a page from the ISPs (1, Funny)

techpawn (969834) | about 7 years ago | (#21009451)

Send a letter saying "We'd tell you, but, we don't want to make ourselves look any worse".

Why does US care? (1)

binaryartist (1172973) | about 7 years ago | (#21009519)

Why does the US government care what Yahoo told the chinese government about some employee?

Re:Why does US care? (1)

svendsen (1029716) | about 7 years ago | (#21009609)

because the Chinese govt then used that info to throw someone in jail who was doing nothing more then trying to fight for their basic human rights?

Re:Why does US care? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#21009643)

The US government has a very selective view of when human rights become something important. I hope they'll soon hand out some kind of guideline when it's ok to ignore them and when not, so far it's kinda confusing.

Re:Why does US care? (2, Insightful)

svendsen (1029716) | about 7 years ago | (#21009685)

It's not confusing at all. When you violate human rights and have oil we want we will eventually use that as the excuse when we invade your country. If you violate human rights and have no oil you are fine. However if you violate human rights and it gets too public and someone important complains AND it might cost money/re-election well then we have to do something.

Simple!

Re:Why does US care? (1)

Billosaur (927319) | about 7 years ago | (#21009897)

You forgot: "If you are one of our largest trading partners and hold title to a large portion of our Federal debt, it's ok to violate human rights unless someone in the media/blogosphere makes a big enough stink about it."

We don't want to take on China. Right now our economy is run off their cheap goods, even though they are tainted with lead and other noxious substances. We take stabs at them every so often, just to make it look good on the world stage (Dalai Lama getting Congressional Gold Medal [cnn.com] ), but we won't seriously challenge them as long as they continue to buy our bonds.

Re:Why does US care? (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#21009731)

Again why does the American government care? If it cared about the end result it would impose sanctions on China rather then punish companies for complying with local law. The American government has done nothing to stop the Chinese government, so this committee is a non-starter.

Re:Why does US care? (1)

svendsen (1029716) | about 7 years ago | (#21009769)

I have no clue on how corporate law/rules work so that being said. Isn't yahoo a US company (HQ in the US) and is subject to US laws no matter where they operate? Bad analogy time...if I as a US citizen go to a country where having sex with children is legal, I can still be prosecuted here in the US for having sex with children. I'm guessing it is probably different for corporations but as I said before I have no idea.

So does anyone know if a US based corporation has to follow UA laws no matter where they are?

Re:Why does US care? (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#21009839)

If that was the case Chinese workers would be paid minimum wage by American companies. They're not, so I think you've got your wires crossed (I've never heard of a pedophile being arrested and charged in America solely on what he did in another country).

Re:Why does US care? (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | about 7 years ago | (#21010519)

I've never heard of a pedophile being arrested and charged in America solely on what he did in another country.

Congress covered that a few years ago, as seen here, [usdoj.gov] second paragraph from the bottom.

Fitting (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | about 7 years ago | (#21009537)

GLaDOS: HAve I lied to you? In this room.

Re:Fitting (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | about 7 years ago | (#21009763)

More fitting

Jerry Yang: I will stop enhancing the truth in 5,4,3,2,*static-burst*

Re:Fitting (1)

SterlingSylver (1122973) | about 7 years ago | (#21009825)

Congress' response: "As a required questioning protocol, we are required to inform you that after your testimony's completion, there will be cake."

Lying to Congress? Oh noes! (2, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | about 7 years ago | (#21009675)

That's certain to result in a strongly worded letter with ABSOLUTELY NO consequences at all.

At least, if one is to gauge by Congress' reaction to the widespread stonewalling by every part of the Bush administration and it's corporate political allies.

Already got the answer (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#21009701)

Because it aided them in increasing their finances.

Now is this committee a bunch of commies or is it going to realize this is a perfectly valid reason? After all, an American company operating in China in the first place is reasonable because of the pursuit of money.

patriot act? (2)

pikine (771084) | about 7 years ago | (#21009713)

Just say, "the Chinese NSA sent us a letter forbidding us to disclose the details of this investigation under the Chinese PATRIOT ACT."

I know China is such a serious human rights offender, but that doesn't legitimize the U.S. for being the same. Furthermore, what makes the House think that it would make sense to bully a company that is just trying to run a business under the pressure between two governments?

Re:patriot act? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21009889)

If they didn't want to be "bullied" then they shouldn't have lied to congress. If your company is stupid enough to do that then they deserve all the investigations they get.

lied? give me a break. (1)

pikine (771084) | about 7 years ago | (#21013025)

Unless the congress explicitly asked, "is Yahoo!'s cooperation in this investigation going to cause a chilling effect for freedom of speech in China?" and their answer is "No," then Yahoo has not lied. There is no inherent tie in a subpoena for "divulging state secret" with "the nature of investigation." In fact, precisely because "divulging state secret" is such a vague charge against anyone the Chinese government doesn't like, there is no way to tell the nature of investigation other than "I guess he pissed someone off in the Chinese government," so the most appropriate answer would be "I don't know."

Re:patriot act? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 7 years ago | (#21012163)

Yahoo's successes are due to the liberal society in which it was founded. That it so despises that liberal society that it will gleefully sell out those principles in other countries is a sign of the deep immorality that pervades American corporate culture.

Re:patriot act? (1)

pikine (771084) | about 7 years ago | (#21012851)

Being founded in a liberal society has nothing to do with an online company's success. Look at Baidu for example. They're founded in an oppressive society, and their success in China far surpasses Google, Yahoo, even Microsoft. If your argument for their "deep immorality" has to do with the betrayal of some sort of idealism that brought them up, it doesn't apply here. Sorry.

Re:patriot act? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21014451)

I know China is such a serious human rights offender, but that doesn't legitimize the U.S. for being the same.
Which human rights are the U.S. denying again?

Ingrates!! (4, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 7 years ago | (#21009767)

I mean, don't these congressmen know which side their bread is buttered and honeyed on?

First Brazilians arrest CEOs, and now American congressmen no less are getting indignant over a few harmless omissions. Governments are getting too big for their boots I say. No respect for their capitalist masters. Time for a good old fashioned recession. That'll put the fear of God into 'em and get 'em back into line quick-sharp!

Failing that, a fascist coup is always an option. We can pull it off during the American Idol finale. I doubt the plebs will even notice! Then we'll be in a better position to match the Chinese economy GDP and journalist lynching growth rates!

Serfdom (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | about 7 years ago | (#21009969)

With the changes to the bankruptcy laws and balloon mortgages blowing up left and right, the US is headed for serfdom anyway.

I, for one, welcome our debt-holding overlords.

Suggestion: be caucious (1)

id3as (1067224) | about 7 years ago | (#21009961)

If I write to my dear ones in China, I just avoid mentioning sensitive topics in my E-mail (even Gmail). If I want to tell it anyway, I tell it over a safer medium.

Felony (1)

threaded (89367) | about 7 years ago | (#21010265)

Isn't 'Lying to Congress' a felony?

Which do you think will happen, if convicted.
1) A slap on the wrist.
2) Bush will pardon.
3) ACLU will get him off.

The Invitation is the Answer (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#21010289)

Yahoo's answer will be "because lying to Congress only got me this annoying reinvitation to your toothless American committee, but telling the truth would have cost us $millions in business with the deadly serious Chinese mafia government".

Which their toothless committee already knows.

not quite toothless (1)

kcurtis (311610) | about 7 years ago | (#21010937)

Ignoring the general lawmaking powers of Congress that can affect Yahoo (ie. net neutrality), lying to Congress is punishable by prison time.

It isn't that common, but the Capitol actually has a jail cell that could be used. Today, though, the person is referred to the DA who is required to convene a grand jury.

In 1983 an EPA official was sentenced to 6 months in jail, 5 years probation and a $10,000 fine.

Short history of NY Times articles here. [nytimes.com]

Re:not quite toothless (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#21011711)

If a cell sits in a forest but no one is locked in it, is it really "punishment"?

As you pointed out with that sparse history, punishable is not punished. The rate of punishment for such lying is probably under a thousandth of a percent of the rate of the lying.

Hell, Congress didn't even file contempt charges, inherent or otherwise, against AG Gonzales, while he spent months, years, lying to Congress about matters of the utmost Constitutional (criminal) importance.

Maybe "toothless" isn't quite the word. Maybe "gummy" is more accurate.

Re:The Invitation is the Answer (1)

Shotgun (30919) | about 7 years ago | (#21011885)

Except "Yahoo" doesn't have an answer. Can't have an answer. A company doesn't speak.

An executive chose to lie to Congress. Granted, they're a bunch of blowhards who are just trying to make a show for some constituency or another without actually doing anything, but blaming the digression on "Yahoo" is an attempt to diffuse the blame. There was exactly one person that lied to Congress (in this instance), and there is exactly one person that should be held in contempt.

It's high time that we stop letting white collar criminals maquerading as CEO's off the hook.

Re:The Invitation is the Answer (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#21012025)

Ditto.

Re:The Invitation is the Answer (1)

jeephistorian (746362) | about 7 years ago | (#21013017)

Actually, they'll just call Mr. Ying as a witness for the defense and everything will balance out.

Register: Yahoo! accused! of! lying! to! Congress! (1)

TheTranceFan (444476) | about 7 years ago | (#21011471)

...and in other news, The Register just now notices that there's superfluous punctuation in Yahoo's name, and decides to make fun of it.

Refreshingly original!

Sounds fishy (1)

moosesocks (264553) | about 7 years ago | (#21013549)

What? The House is actually holding a corporation responsible for its actions overseas?

I think it should be pretty plainly clear by now that they don't give a shit about this sort of thing. (Blackwater had to start murdering crowds of people in cold blood before congress even paid any attention to its actions.)

So the real question is.... what topic are they avoiding discussing right now? Have they run out of talking points for their usual debates over civil unions and abortion rights that they usually use for this purpose? Don't they have some baseball players they can call in for testimony? It worked great for them after Abu Ghraib.
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