Internet giant Google has been attacked for considering censoring content for access to Chinese markets – but still refusing to remove child abuse content.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt pointed out the apparent hypocrisy of being willing to censor for one reason but not another.
Google claimed to be proud of being “values-driven”, said Mr Hunt.
An open letter signed by 14 leading human rights charities, including Amnesty International, was sent to Google on Tuesday demanding the corporation drop its China plans.
The letter warned company boss Sundar Pichai the move would be “an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights” and could mean his company becoming “complicit in human rights violations”.
Google has not issued a public statement in response.
Meanwhile, tech giants including Google have snubbed an international summit to discuss removing content such as child abuse images and terrorist beheading videos.
The meeting was organised by the so-called Five Eyes nations – Britain, the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid had hoped to progress the issue on his visit to Australia this week.
He held meetings with Five Eyes counterparts on issues including how to tackle child abuse.