Dissident jailed with evidence from Yahoo HK to be freed, wife says

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 August, 2012, 4:11am


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A dissident whose conviction in 2003 for subversion was based on evidence from United States internet giant Yahoo will be released from a 10-year jail term this week, his wife says.

Wang Xiaoning , 62, became a cause célèbre after a Beijing court named Yahoo (Hong Kong) as the source of its evidence, a public relations disaster for the firm.

His wife, Yu Ling , said yesterday the Beijing prison authorities had said Wang would be released tomorrow morning.

Wang was prosecuted after posting essays on the web that advocated democratic reform and criticised China's one-party 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' jail for leaking state secrets in 2005 after he sent an e-mail overseas containing information on a crackdown on democracy advocates.

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

The firm 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 to compensate her and her husband.