The cost of doing business in the world market

Everyone knows about the recent little legal issue where Yahoo and the wife of a Chinese business journalist, Shi Tao, whom got jailed after Yahoo compiled with the Chinese government in handing over information.
While they have since settled, a lot of world-wide businesses have been watching and paying attention to what Yahoo would do. After pondering it some, I decided to not weigh in at 8Asians of which I am a writer and where there has been some debate about the subject, and went with voicing my opinion here.
This problem is two-fold, no matter what anyone says. The first issue is if there is a global right to democracy. If this was a perfect world, and businesses also fell under the same guidelines of the United States protecting all things democratic, then I would say that Yahoo was in the wrong. A business journalist in a major non-US world power spoke out against his government. That’s to be commended although the Communist government didn’t have any problems with throwing this guy in jail for ten years. I mean, let’s face it. If someone leaked information that was internal to the U.S. government and spoke out against the government, you would probably be on some list somewhere, and worst case charged with treason depending on what you actually did.
The second is doing business world-wide. It’s ridiculous to think that Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Apple, or any other United States based business should have to be subject to this farce. They complied with laws set by the hosting government. I’m sure Yahoo didn’t expect it to become such the PR nightmare that it did, but that’s what happens with doing business in an emerging market where the government acts differently than anything else you’re used to… especially an East meets West scenario. In all mannerisms of speaking, the settlement just made Yahoo that much more attractive here since they also played the compassionate firm that cares. The problem here is not only that the Chinese government has pretty much a lot more control over how a business is operated in China, but it’s not about democracy nor rights. It’s about business. And going in there with that in mind, any other CEO would have made the same choice since complying beats getting thrown out of doing business in that country.
So was it wrong for Yahoo to not fight for the little guy? Sure. On the grander scheme of things, if all things in the world were perfect, Yahoo should have stepped up and fought it tooth and nail. But the world isn’t a perfect place, and one has to protect the business’ bottom line. Complying with the law is simply what the shareholders would have looked for Yang and team to do. Funny thing about that, but Yahoo’s senior staff does indeed answer to shareholders just as every other publicly traded company does.
Would you have done any different? With what I’ve read about the issue, I probably wouldn’t have.