Apple removes New York Times apps from Chinese App Store at request of government agency

Towards the beginning of last year, Apple’s iBooks and iTunes Movies services in China were shut down by a government agency. Now, Apple is again facing problems in the country, this time due to third-party applications by The New York Times. According to a report from the publication, Apple has removed the NYT news apps from the App Store…

According to the report, Apple removed the apps following a request from Chinese authorities. The apps appear to have been removed on December 23rd and include both the Chinese-language and English-language versions.

In a statement, an Apple spokesperson explained that the apps in question were in violation of local regulations, but that once the issues had been resolved, the apps would be made available again.

“We have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations,” Fred Sainz, an Apple spokesman, said of the Times apps. “As a result, the app must be taken down off the China App Store. When this situation changes, the App Store will once again offer the New York Times app for download in China.”

At this point, it’s unclear what specific regulations the apps violated, nor is it clear what government agency came to Apple with the problem in the first place. The Times bureau in Beijing has apparently not been contacted by the Chinese government. The publication has, however, asked Apple to reconsider its decision.

Apple has said in the past that it complies with all local rules and regulations, though, so it’s unlikely for the company to defy a governmental request.

“The request by the Chinese authorities to remove our apps is part of their wider attempt to prevent readers in China from accessing independent news coverage by The New York Times of that country, coverage which is no different from the journalism we do about every other country in the world,” Ms. Murphy said in a statement.

As of right now, apps from other publications such as The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal are still available in the China App Store.

Last year, the Chinese State Administration of Press, Publication, Film, and Television came after Apple’s iBooks and iMovies services in the country, ordering that they be shut down immediately. The services were shut down roughly 6 months after launch and a resolution still hasn’t been agreed upon.


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