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Chinese Political Prisoner Sues In U.S. Court, Saying Yahoo Helped Identify Dissidents

Publication Date: 
April 19, 2007
The New York Times
Miguel Helft

The New York Times features Professor Allen Weiner in a story about a lawsuit filed against Yahoo by a Chinese political prisoner and his wife. The suit, thought to be the first of its kind, is filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victims Protection Act.

"Allen S. Weiner, a professor of international law at Stanford, said it was unclear whether the law would apply to a company like Yahoo, which is only accused of having contributed indirectly to Mr. Wang’s predicament. Further, Professor Weiner said that Yahoo might be excused by courts by virtue of its obligation to comply with Chinese law.

"The Torture Victims Protection Act, which was enacted in 1991, allows plaintiffs, including foreign citizens, to file civil suits in the United States. Under either law, the plaintiffs would have to prove that Mr. Wang was subject to torture, Professor Weiner said.

“'The plaintiffs in this case have a lot of barriers to overcome,' he said."