A U.S. judge has given a lawsuit by pro-democracy activists against Baidu and the People's Republic of China new life, even after the country invoked its authority as a sovereign nation to block the censorship case.
U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan said the activists were entitled to serve their lawsuit on Baidu's lawyer in New York, without infringing China's sovereign protections.
Saying the issue had never been analyzed in detail, Furman on Friday night rejected Baidu's contention that allowing service would turn the part of the Hague Convention that China invoked into a "dead letter" by letting a court circumvent it.
The convention is a multilateral treaty that makes it easier to serve court paper internationally.
In their May 2011 lawsuit, eight New York writers and video producers had accused Baidu and China of conspiring to suppress their political speech from Baidu, the country's most widely used search engine.
The plaintiffs said the content could be found via search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing, and Google's YouTube. They sought millions of dollars in damages for alleged violations of their First Amendment rights and human rights law.