Yahoo China post Tibetan rioter pics


NEW YORK -- Yahoo's China home page on Friday ran a "Most Wanted" poster offering rewards to Web users willing to help track down Tibetans that Beijing has accused of inciting recent riots in Lhasa.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based, Nasdaq-listed Yahoo owns 40% of the privately held e-commerce Alibaba Group, which, in turn, owns and operates Yahoo China.

"The Chinese police have issued a warrant for the arrest of suspected rioters in Tibet," read the item on Yahoo's China home page.

Similar items also ran on Chinese Web portals and, and inside MSN China's site, according to French Web site the Observers, a user-generated content Web site operated by Paris-based TV news channel France 24.

The items ran with fuzzy security camera photos of men, allegedly Tibetan, taken during the riots.

The item was removed from Yahoo China's home page not long after the Observers site sent out a mass e-mail bulletin about it.

Yahoo has been under fire for its practices in China since it was found to have helped the Chinese police in their pursuit of jailed journalist Shi Tao, who had an e-mail account with Yahoo. Shi was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2005 for "divulging state secrets."

After that case, it also was found that Yahoo had provided evidence against at least three other Chinese dissidents.

Following the allegations, Yahoo told the U.S. Congress that its China operations were controlled by Alibaba, with which it partnered in 2005. Alibaba was founded in 1999 by Chinese Internet entrepreneur Jack Ma in Hangzhou, China.

Yahoo trails local search engine and Google in the Chinese Web market.

With more than 210 million Web users, China has the largest online population in the world, surpassing the U.S. online population earlier this month, according to Beijing-based media research firm BDA, which bases its claim on data from the state-owned China Internet Network Information Center.

Chinese authorities also have blocked access to Google-owned YouTube since protests in Tibet began March 10 on the 49th anniversary of an uprising against Chinese rule.

Chinese authorities have stepped up vigilant checks of Internet content they deem a challenge to Beijing's hold on power in the months approaching the Summer Olympics, due to start in the Chinese capital in August.