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Behind China's Internet Firewall - Part 1

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Uploaded on Feb 8, 2008

His name is Shi Tao, former journalist for the Contemporary Business News in Changsha City, Hubei Province. In April 2004, Shi Tao was attending an internal meeting at work.


His upper management verbally informed everyone of a publication just received from the Office of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. It was, essentially, a directive on how they should go about reporting the upcoming fifteenth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
Shi Tao made notes in the meeting and then sent an email - through his Yahoo account - to a friend at a web-magazine called Democracy Newsletter. His aimed was to warn overseas Chinese activists not to go back to China at that time, or they might have faced arrest.

Seven days later, Shi Tao himself was arrested. April 27, 2005, Shi Tao was sentenced to ten years in prison for "illegally leaking state secrets abroad." Unfortunately, this was a typical sentence in a typical case. Like many intellectuals who had been given criminal sentences because of what they said, Shi Tao, 37 years-old, may have, more or less been mentally prepared for this outcome. However, little could this journalist have imagined that one of the hands that had thrown him into prison was a company that he had relied on for years in his efforts to create political change - the U.S. headquartered technology company, Yahoo.

So what exactly were the circumstances surrounding his arrest? And just what part do companies like Yahoo play in China's efforts in maintaining a tight control over their dictatorship?

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