On Thursday the Google CEO Sundar Pichai addressed that the company’s plan to return to China with a censored search engine is not likely to happen. He said there’s no certainty whether the internet giant ultimately will be able to enter the Chinese market or not.

Pichai at Google’s weekly all-hands employee meeting remarked “We are not close” to launching a search product in China. And whether they would do so or not is all very unclear.

Pichai at the weekly all-hands employee meeting at Google’s Mountain View noted that the company is trying to develop a new search engine that would allow the Chinese government to censor search results for its citizens. Pichai’s remark acknowledges that the company is actively considering how to expand into the Middle Kingdom.

Google hopes that the Chinese government would approve the search service as the company plans to block some websites and search terms. Pichai exclaims that the team has been in an exploration stage for quite a while and that this exploration will help in finding many options.

But the disclosure of the secretive effort has disturbed some Google employees and human rights advocacy organizations. They are concerned that the secret project codenamed as Dragonfly would validate China’s prohibitions on free expression and violate the “don’t be evil” clause in the company’s code of conduct.

About 1,000 employees signed an open letter asking for the company to be transparent about the project and create an ethical review process for it. China’s appeal makes it clear that ethics principles issued by Google during the drone debate are not enough.

The company rejects to comment publicly on Dragonfly since details about it were leaked. Google which has left China 8 years back is still in doubt whether the Chinese government will welcome it back or not.