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Yahoo establishes a Human Rights Fund

30 April, 2008
By Allison Orr

In an attempt to improve its human rights image, Internet giant Yahoo has established a fund for humanitarian and legal aid to dissidents.  The fund will be administered by Harry Wu, a prominent human rights advocate and former dissident who spent 19 years in labour camps in China for voicing his opinions.

According to Wu, the fund is intended to pay for legal aid and family support for dissidents jailed for human rights opinions expressed on the Internet.  It will also be used to fund education in China and internationally on the human rights situation in China.

Yahoo has been widely criticised for its human rights position since the imprisonment of two journalists in China, Shi Tao and Wan Xiaoning, after information was provided to Chinese authorities by Yahoo.

Last year, Yahoo settled a lawsuit with the families of these two men and Yahoo CEO, Larry Yang, apologised to the journalists’ families during a US Congressional hearing.

Yahoo has also provided $1 million to Georgetown University in the US to establish a fellowship for scholars to study the link between values such as human rights and the Internet.

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