Google has been secretly planning a censored version of its search engine for the Chinese government that will edit out content about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, according to a leaked document obtained by The Intercept. The news site reports the project has been underway for over a year, but was accelerated after a December 2017 meeting between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and an unnamed top Chinese government official. The project—reportedly codenamed Dragonfly—has been demonstrated to Beijing officials and the finalized version could be launched in six to nine months. The move represents a dramatic shift in Google’s policy on China and will mark the first time in almost a decade that the company operated its search engine in the country. Google’s search service cannot be accessed by most internet users in China because it is blocked by the country’s so-called Great Firewall. The app Google is building for China will comply with Beijing’s strict censorship laws, restricting access to a wide range of content that Xi Jinping’s Communist Party regime deems unfavorable.
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