A cross-party group of congresspeople have asked Google if it plans to launch a censored version of its search engine in China, as has been rumored. In their letter to Google, the 16 Democrats and Republicans wrote they had “serious concerns” over the possible move, according to Reuters. A group of senators, including Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden, previously sought answers from Google over its reported return to China.
Recent reports suggested that Google is working on a version of its search engine that would block sites and terms related to democracy, religion, human rights and protest. The company had apparently been working on a blacklist of search terms for China for some time. Some of Google’s employees are against a return to the country, with some quitting in protest.
CEO Sundar Pichai told his staff last month that the potential move was in early, exploratory stages. “We are not close to launching a search product in China,” he reportedly said. The company shut down its previous Chinese search engine in 2010.
Google has come under fire from several factions in Washington as of late. Politicians were unhappy that the company no-showed a hearing alongside Facebook and Twitter executives last week. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump accused Google of “suppressing” conservative media outlets, which the company has denied.