Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, has issued the following statement in response to the news that Yahoo! Inc. has reached a settlement with the family of jailed Chinese journalist Shi Tao:
“It took a tongue-lashing from Congress before these high-tech titans did the right thing and coughed up some concrete assistance for the family of a journalist whom Yahoo had helped send to jail. What a disgrace. When I asked Yahoo officials 21 months ago whether the company had reached out to the family to offer help, I was appalled to learn the answer. It was infuriating last week to hear that the company still had not reached out. In my view, today’s settlement is long overdue.
“And it is not the end of the issue. Yahoo! Inc. and other U.S.-based Internet companies need to work harder to ensure that they resist any attempts by authoritarian regimes to make them complicit in cracking down on free speech – otherwise, they simply should not do business in those markets.”
On November 6, Lantos chaired a hearing at which Yahoo! Inc. CEO Jerry Yang and General Counsel Michael Callahan were asked to account for the company’s actions in the Shi Tao case, including incorrect information about the case that the company had given Congress in February 2006.