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Yahoo asks federal court to dismiss human rights lawsuit

It's accused of providing information about dissidents to the Chinese government

Yahoo Inc. has asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by the Washington-based World Organization for Human Rights USA.

That lawsuit, filed in April, accuses Yahoo’s Hong Kong subsidiary, Yahoo Hong Kong Ltd., (YHKL) of allegedly providing information to Chinese authorities that led to the persecution, torture and imprisonment of four Chinese dissidents.

According to that lawsuit, YHKL handed over information that led to the imprisonment of dissidents, including writer Wang Xiaoning, on charges of incitement to subvert state power. Wang was sentenced to 10 years in prison in September 2003, due in part to writings distributed over the Internet. Yahoo gave his e-mail account information and IP address to the Chinese government, according to the court documents.

In addition, the lawsuit alleged that the Chinese court specifically relied on evidence supplied by Yahoo to identify and convict Xiaoning. The Chinese court said Yahoo was instrumental in causing Xiaoning’s arrest and criminal prosecution, according to the lawsuit.

The World Organization represents Xiaoning, and his wife, Yu Ling.