About the Individual: Shi Tao
Shi Tao was a freelance writer, journalist, and head of the news division at the daily Dangdai Shangbao (Contemporary Business News) in Changsha, Hunan Province. He had also written numerous essays for overseas Internet forums, including one entitled "The Most Disgusting Day," in which he criticized the Chinese government for the March 28 detention of Ding Zilin, a Tiananmen Mothers activist whose son was killed during the 1989 democracy movement.
On April 20, 2004, Shi attended a Dangdai Shangbao staff meeting in which the contents of a Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Propaganda Bureau document about security concerns and preparation for the upcoming 15th anniversary of the June 4th crackdown were discussed. That evening, Shi used his personal Yahoo! e-mail account to send his notes about this meeting to the New York-based website, Democracy Forum. He was ultimately detained for this action on November 24, 2004. On April 27, 2005, Shi was tried for "illegally providing state secrets overseas" under Article 111 of the Criminal Law. Because the document was certified a "top secret" state secret, he was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment following a brief trial conducted entirely behind closed doors.
In his Appellate Brief of June 2005, Shi wrote: "We give up our life and property in order for the government to 'maintain secrecy,' ordinary citizens become targets of punishment, the news media is surgically operated on, and the people's 'right to know' is treated like a joke. And the government just goes on in its own way, making mistake after mistake. This is the greatest hidden danger of China's stability work." His appeal was denied. Also in his Appellate Brief, Shi further described the harassment that can be leveled at journalists who circumvent the system of information control. "[The government has] expended vast amounts of manpower, materials and financial resources on the long process of placing me under control and surveillance, tailing me, tapping my phone, and finally capturing me and throwing me into prison...it's impossible for [my family and friends] to comprehend the tremendous psychological pressure that I've been under. Although being in prison is surely terrible, losing one's sense of privacy and safety is even more terrifying."
Shi Tao's Writings
Legal and Advocacy Documents Relating to
Shi Tao's Case
Case brought against Shi Tao in China:
Lawsuit brought against Yahoo! Inc. in the United States:
Report by Hong Kong Office of the Privacy Commissioner for
HRIC Advocacy and Media Work on Shi Tao
Below is a listing of HRIC advocacy and media work on Shi Tao, including press release, statements, and case updates. To subscribe to HRIC's press list, please e-mail email@example.com with "SUBSCRIBE" as the subject heading.
HRIC Advocacy and Media Work on
Other Imprisoned Writers and Journalists
Updated News Articles
The Human Rights in China (HRIC) Daily News Brief is a daily compilation of selected human rights-related news covered in local and regional Chinese and English press compiled by HRIC's research office. Visit the Daily News Brief for recent news articles on Shi Tao.
 Information in this section on Shi Tao's health is according to his lawyer Li Jianqiang (March 2006) and was confirmed by Shi's mother, Gao Qinsheng, in June 2007. For more information, see "Forced Labor Seriously Harmed Shi Tao's Health" [師濤在獄中被強迫勞動健康受到嚴重損害], Radio Free Asia, March 31, 2006, http://www.rfa.org/cantonese/xinwen/2006/03/31/china_internet_yahoo/?simple=1.
 The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was established by the UN Commission on Human Rights and assumed by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate cases of arbitrary deprivation of liberty worldwide. The working group acts on information submitted to it by nongovernmental organizations and others. It is the only non-treaty-based mechanism at the UN whose mandate expressly provides for consideration of individual complaints. This means that its actions are based on the right of petition of individuals anywhere in the world.
 This lawsuit was brought with the aid of World Organization for Human Rights USA. More information about the case, Wang Xiaoning et al v. Yahoo! Inc. et al, can be found at their website, http://www.humanrightsusa.org.
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