Chinese man convicted via Yahoo email free
CHINA has freed a dissident writer who was convicted of leaking “state secrets” in 2005 in a landmark case where his Yahoo emails formed key evidence against him, international writers’ groups say.
Shi Tao, 45, was released on August 23 after serving nearly nine years of a 10-year sentence for “providing state secrets to overseas organisations,” the Independent Chinese PEN Centre and PEN International said.
“We welcome news of Shi Tao’s early release, at a time when there seem to be increasingly long shadows over freedom of expression in China,” said Marian Botsford Fraser, head of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.
“Shi Tao’s arrest and imprisonment, because of the actions of Yahoo China, signalled a decade ago the challenges to freedom of expression of internet surveillance and privacy that we are now dealing with,” Botsford Fraser said.
Other dissident writers said they believed Shi was arrested because of online publications in which he criticised the ruling Communist Party.
The government said Shi had leaked details via email of a “certain important document” that he learned about through his work as a reporter in the southern city of Changsha.
Yahoo later apologised for handing over Shi’s emails to Chinese authorities.
In 2007, it settled a lawsuit brought on behalf of Shi and another Chinese journalist who was convicted partly through information provided by Yahoo.