Google declined to comment on the report and Li's comments.
According to confidential documents seen by The Intercept, the tech giant took over the website 265.com in 2008 after it was founded in 2003 by Chinese entrepreneur Cai Wensheng. The report further reiterates Google's refusal to go along with "Chinese government censorship requirements on ethical grounds, and essentially abandoned the market".
While Google continues to dismiss "speculation" surrounding its renewed interest in China - a market that has traditionally been hostile to Western tech companies in favour of homegrown internet giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent (collectively known as BAT) - the whistleblower's account to The Intercept is fairly detailed.
"The decision to exit the Chinese market was a huge blunder, which made the company miss golden chances in the mainland's internet development", the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party said.
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These are the sites Google would likely to censor in its upcoming Android search app for China.
Meanwhile, The Intercept also reports that a bipartisan group of US senators wants Google CEO Sundar Pichai to explain whether the Tencent Holdings deal is linked to the censored search app. But the Google app would comply with the country's censorship laws and limit users to Web content approved by the regime, according to the report. News of a potential return have been met with resistance from employees and criticism from human rights advocates and lawmakers.
Moreover, internet and human right activists aren't too pleased with Google's decision to toe the Chinese government's line on internet censorship.
The project Google is said to be developing highlights the enormous opportunity that technology companies see in China, where Internet growth is booming, with almost 800 million users, according to estimates.
State-owned Chinese newspaper the People's Daily will welcome Google back to the mainland as long as it complies with domestic laws, it said in an editorial which was posted online on August 6 but has since been taken down. Facebook is also blocked in the country, but the social network is vying to gain a foothold.