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INTERNATIONAL- Alphabet Inc’s Google plans to launch a version of its search engine in China that will block some websites and search terms, two sources said, in a move that could mark its return to a market it abandoned eight years ago on censorship concerns.

The plan, which was criticized by human rights advocates, comes as China has stepped up scrutiny of business dealings involving U.S. tech firms including Facebook Inc, Apple Inc and Qualcomm Inc amid intensifying trade tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Google, which quit China’s search engine market in 2010, has been actively seeking ways to re-enter China where many of its products are blocked by regulators.

The Intercept earlier reported Google’s China plans on Wednesday, citing internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans.

The project is code named “Dragonfly” and has been underway since the spring of 2017, the news website said.

Progress on the project picked up after a December meeting between Google’s Chief Executive Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, it added.

- REUTERS