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Mike Pence urges Google to end Dragonfly search engine for China

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has strongly criticized what he said was China's "wholesale theft" of U.S. technology and urged Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC unit to end its reported efforts to build a censored search engine for China.

Speaking at an Oct. 4 event hosted by the Hudson Institute, Pence said more business leaders are exercising caution before entering the Chinese market "if it means turning over their intellectual property or abetting Beijing's oppression."

More organizations must follow suit, Pence said, adding that Google needs to end development of its "Dragonfly" app project in China.

The app "will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers," Pence said.

Google has allegedly been working on the Dragonfly project since the spring of 2017 and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official.

The app would reportedly ban websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion and peaceful protest.

In a statement to S&P Global Market Intelligence, Google said that it has been "investing for many years to help Chinese users, from developing Android, through mobile apps such as Google Translate and Files Go, and our developer tools."

"But our work on search has been exploratory, and we are not close to launching a search product in China," Google said.