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If the Chinese government approves the censored Google Search version and if the company is confident the search engine will perform better than Baidu, now the dominant search service in China, then Google will launch the Dragonfly search app, according to The Intercept's sources.

Google is reportedly working on a project called Dragonfly that may result in the company launching a special version of its search engine in China.

Patrick Poon, a researcher with Amnesty International agreed with this assessment. The tech giant had already come under fire this year from thousands of employees who signed a petition against a $10-million contract with the United States military, which was not renewed. "Some people are very mad we´re doing it", the source said. Now there's rumor of a news app, too.

Google may launch a censored version of its search engine in China in a move that would largely reverse its 2010 decision to withdraw from the country, The Intercept reported. The aim of this project is to create a Google search engine app that could be installed on Android phones.

Google was harshly criticized both inside and outside the company for going along with Beijing's restrictions on Internet access, dubbed the "Great Firewall of China", when it entered the Chinese market in 2006. "In putting profits before human rights, Google would be setting a chilling precedent and handing the Chinese government a victory", Poon said.

US Internet titans have long struggled to do business in China, home of the "Great Firewall" that blocks politically sensitive content, such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Twitter, Facebook and The New York Times website are blocked in China. But a Google employee familiar with the censored version of the search engine confirmed to Reuters that the project was alive and genuine.

In 2010, Google had said that it could not operate in China in a hostile environment.

In December a year ago, Google announced that it would open a new artificial intelligence research center in Beijing.

A source with knowledge of the project told The Intercept that they had moral and ethical concerns about Google contributing to China's censorship regime.

The search engine project comes amid a US-China trade war, with both sides imposing tit-for-tat tariffs and President Donald Trump accusing Beijing of stealing US technological know-how.