The House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing with Yahoo executives from last week had been widely reported in the media and digested through blogs and comments. Instead of adding my two cents to the clouds, I am listing here some relevant links:

While the hearing was reported everywhere, there was almost zero reporting on the Congressional Human Rights Caucus briefing that happened the following day. Here’s the announcement of the briefing:

Congressional Human Rights Caucus (CHRC) Briefing:
China and the Internet: A Virtual Road to Prison
Wednesday, November 7th, 2007
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Room: TBA

Please join the Congressional Human Rights Caucus for a briefing on the subject of human rights and the Internet in China. The briefing is open to the public and media, and will be held on Wednesday, November 7th, 2007, at 10:30 a.m. in the US Congress (room t.b.a.).

China has long developed one of the most sophisticated content-filtering Internet regimes in the world. The Chinese government employs sophisticated methods to limit content online, including a combination of legal regulation,”voluntary codes of conduct,” internet surveillance, and criminal sentencing to brutally suppress the free flow of information and to promote self-censorship.

Informational websites, including that of the BBC, Radio Free Asia, Voice of America and the public encyclopedia, Wikipedia, have been partially or completely blocked in China. Particularly in light of the upcoming 2008 Olympics, the Chinese government has made it very clear that it intends to crack down on any information critical of the Chinese regime and its actions. For this purpose, President Hu Jintao announced earlier in April of this year a campaign to rid the country’s sprawling Internet of “unhealthy content” and to “purify” it.

For some time human rights organizations have raised their concerns about freedom of expression and Internet censorship in China. In 2004, Yahoo came under fire for giving the personal email address of a Chinese journalist, Shi Tao, to the PRC government, which resulted in his conviction and sentence to 10 years in prison. Other Internet companies have closed down journalists’ blogs under pressure from the Chinese authorities and have self-censored their search engines and blog tools.

To discuss these important issues, we welcome as expert witnesses:**

**Witness list subject to change.

At the briefing, Gao Qinsheng and Yu Ling were part of the panel speakers as reported by RFA – Cantonese Service (RFA reporting in Traditional Chinese) and its accompanied video.

Update (11-13-2007): RFA – Mandarin Service posted online last week’s in-studio interview with Gao Qinsheng and Yu Ling (Mandarin interview and English translation).

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