Talking at Georgetown University, Jerry Yang, Yahoo's
CEO, said legal gray areas in foreign countries make doing
international business difficult.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc Chief Executive Jerry Yang, whose
company helped identify a Chinese dissident who was later jailed, said
on Thursday that legal "gray areas" overseas made doing business
Yang, whose family emigrated from Taiwan when he was ten, called
himself "a big believer in American values" but added: "As we operate
around the world we don't have a heavy handed American view."
Different countries have different attitudes toward the Internet
with some wanting major interventions and others preferring to leave
the Web unfettered.
"We operate within these environments to the extent that the law has
any clarity," Yang told an event at Georgetown University, where Yahoo
gave a $1 million gift to study the link between the Internet and
"We think we're hitting more gray areas than ever before. I don't think it's an easy question," he said.
Yahoo was criticized for its role in helping the Chinese government
identify Shi Tao, a reporter accused of leaking state secrets abroad.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in April 2007.
After the debacle, Yahoo sold its Yahoo China subsidiary to Chinese
Internet company Alibaba.com Ltd in exchange for a 40 percent stake in
Yahoo said in late March that it was setting up a human-rights fund
to help victims of government censorship. Harry Wu, a former political
prisoner in China, will oversee the initiative. The company has
declined to say how big the fund is.
In his remarks at the university, Yang detailed other humanitarian
efforts that Yahoo had undertaken, including helping raise money for
the American Red Cross in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's disastrous
strike on New Orleans in 2005.
During his visit to Washington D.C., Yang also met with Rep. Nancy
Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as Sen.
Dianne Feinstein, a tough critic of China's human rights policies. Both
are Democrats from California.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)
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