Jailed dissident in Yahoo case to be freed

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 August, 2012, 4:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am


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A Chinese dissident whose conviction for subversion was based on evidence provided by US internet giant Yahoo will be released from a 10-year prison term this week, his wife said on Wednesday.

Wang Xiaoning, 62, became a cause celebre after a Beijing court named Yahoo Holdings (Hong Kong) as the source of evidence that led to his 2003 conviction, in a public relations disaster for the company.

His wife Yu Ling said the Beijing prison authorities had said he would be released on Friday morning.

Wang was prosecuted after posting essays on the web that advocated democratic reform and criticised Beijing’s one-party Communist rule – activities that were traced to him through information Yahoo provided, the court said at the time.

Yahoo also provided evidence in the case of poet and activist Shi Tao, who was sentenced to 10 years for leaking state secrets in 2005 after he sent an e-mail overseas containing information on a crackdown on democracy advocates.

Company executives who testified before the US Congress said they were legally obliged to divulge the information and that they were unaware it would be used to convict Chinese dissidents.

Yahoo later apologised and in 2007 paid compensation to Wang’s wife after the World Organisation for Human Rights lodged a lawsuit that also named Shi.

Yu said her husband had been badly treated in prison, but remained in relatively good health, adding that he could face further restrictions after his release.

“My goal is to get him home peacefully and avoid all trouble [from the authorities],” said Yu, 61.

“His political rights have been deprived for two more years. I’m not really sure what this means, but they may continue to place restrictions on him.”

Yu refused to say how much money Yahoo paid in compensation, but said she was impressed with the US Congress and court system during her visit to the United States in 2007 as part of the lawsuit.