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Yahoo Says It Sympathizes With Chinese Citizens Suing The Company

In its request for dismissal, Yahoo says the real issue is with governments that restrict free speech and privacy, and not a legal concern related to its actions.

Yahoo has issued statements sympathizing with Chinese citizens suing the company for allegedly violating their rights, but the company claims the lawsuit "has no place in America."

This week, Yahoo filed a request for dismissal of the lawsuit brought by the World Organization for Human Rights, USA, on behalf of Chinese citizens who claim they suffered human rights abuses after being jailed, partly because Yahoo turned over e-mail information to their government.

The company also issued a public statement on the issue.

"Yahoo believes deeply in human rights," the statement explained. "As a company built on openness, we strongly support freedom of expression and privacy around the world."

Yahoo said the case lacks legal merit and the claims are a political and diplomatic issue, not a legal one.

"The real issue here is the plaintiffs' outrage at the behavior and laws of the Chinese government," Yahoo said. "The U.S. court system is not the forum for addressing these political concerns. Yahoo has engaged extensively with the U.S. government on the issues in China and we will continue to work with industry partners, as well as human-rights organizations, on a global framework for technology companies operating in countries that restrict free expression and privacy."

The company's filing states that the lawsuit, filed by Chinese dissidents imprisoned for using the Internet in China to criticize Chinese leaders, challenges the actions of the Chinese government.

"It has no place in the American courts," Yahoo explained in the motion to dismiss. "Yahoo deeply sympathizes with the plaintiffs and their families and does not condone the suppression of their rights and liberty by their government. But Yahoo has no control over the sovereign government of the People's Republic of China ("PRC"), the laws it passes, and the manner in which it enforces its laws. Neither Yahoo Inc. or YHKL therefore, can be held liable for the independent acts of the PRC just because a former Yahoo subsidiary in China obeyed a lawful government request for the collection of evidence relevant to a pending investigation."

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