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Lawmaker orders probe of Yahoo China event

U.S. lawmaker seeks investigation into Yahoo's role in arrest of Chinese journalist for allegedly e-mailing state secrets.

The chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee has ordered an investigation into Yahoo's role in the arrest of a Chinese Internet journalist serving a 10-year sentence for allegedly distributing state secrets in e-mail, according to the Associated Press.

Shi Tao was arrested in 2004 by Chinese officials after Yahoo cooperated with a request to provide information about the Yahoo Mail customer. At a hearing last year, Yahoo general counsel Michael Callahan said that Yahoo did not know what the nature of the investigation of Shi was when it handed over the information to the Chinese government.

However, the Dui Hua Foundation, a human rights group that focuses on China, released a document late last month that it says shows that the Beijing State Security Bureau had told Yahoo in writing that Shi was suspected of "illegal provision of state secrets to foreign entities."

"For a firm engaged in the information industry, Yahoo sure has a lot of secrecy to answer for," House Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos, a California Democrat, said on Friday. "We expect to learn the truth and to hold the company to account."

"Covering up such a despicable practice when Congress seeks an explanation is a serious offense," he said.

Yahoo spokesman Jim Cullinan said the company would cooperate fully with the committee.

"Yahoo's testimony was accurate and forthright, and while we regret Chairman Lantos is rushing to judgment we look forward to working with Chairman Lantos to explain the facts surrounding the case," he said.