Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! betrayed their values and colluded with government censorship in China in pursuit of lucrative revenue opportunities, according to human rights charity Amnesty International.

Yahoo! has been singled out as the worst offender by Amnesty for allowing its Chinese partner Alibaba to pass email data to the Chinese authorities that was subsequently used to convict a journalist now serving a 10-year jail sentence.

A new Amnesty report out today claimed: "Yahoo!'s actions have, in particular, assisted the suppression of dissent with severe consequences for those affected."

In its defence Yahoo! claims decisions about co-operating with Chinese officials are in the hands of Alibaba not Yahoo!, which is a 40 per cent minority shareholder in the company and has one seat on the board.

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