Executions in 2018: min. 690 plus 'thousands' in China

Letter to Yahoo

On September 14th 2005 the former vice chairman Matthias Wippich wrote an open letter to Yahoo, in which he sharply critized their collaboration with the chinese authorities with regard to human rights abuse. Due to information provided by Yahoo the journalist Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years of prison for publishing material critizising the government.

The Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty therefore decided to stop using their internal Yahoo E-Group.


Yahoo and the human rights


Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue Sunnyvale,
California 94089

Yahoo! Deutschland GmbH
Holzstrasse 30
80469 München
Deutschland – Germany

Date: 14.09.2005

Dear Sirs,

we are shocked to learn that your company helped the chinese authorities to arrest the dissident journalist Shi Tao. Shi Tao has been sentenced to 10 years inprisionment in April this year for the „transmission of state secrets“. The accusation was that he passed on Communist Party information to the Chines media, relating to the 15th anniversary of the 1989 massacre. The 37-year-old journalist had sent a summary of the anual state policies to the USA. A 'democracy forum' anonymously published the mail on their website.

In the opinion of the court published by the journalist organization 'journalists without frontiers' they say: 'Between 7 pm today and 2 am of the following morning the defendant Shi Tao used his personal email-account (huoyan1989@yahoo.cn) in his office to mail (….) notes'.

As evidence detailed internet connection data and email-information is mentioned in this document compiled by 'the Yahoo Holding (Hongkong)'.

A spokeswoman of Yahoo Hongkong justified the acitons of her company: 'Like every other global company Yahoo has to make sure that it's local pages are according to the law and habits of the country they are published in', the spokeswoman Mary Osako explained.

Maybe your firm doesn't know that the right of freedom of expression is a human right which is amongst other things guaranteed in the 'International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights'. (article 19 (2) Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.).

In this respect the proceeding of the Yahoo Holding in our judgement determines the fact of human right abuse.

If you put this case in relation to the the obligation to a voluntary censorship which Yahoo China agreed to three years ago – you have to get to the conclusion – that facing a good business the consideration of human rights is subordinated by your company.

The members of our coalition (Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty) used to communicate by Yahoo e-group since 2001.

As we feel obliged to the consequent implementation of human rights we hereafter do not want to be associated to a company which benefits human rights abuse for profit in any way.

Matthias Wippich

Death Penalty world-wide

There are still 58 countries and territories which keep capital punishment in their law and carried out executions in the past 10 years, among these countries are also the USA and Japan.

We want to give you a short overview over the death penalty world-wide here.