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Apple has complied with what it called a request by authorities in China to remove news apps from the app store it has in China, that were created by the New York Times.
This move limits the access to one of the last remaining channels that readers have in China to read the newspaper without needing to use special software.
The Chinese government started blocking Times’ websites back in 2012, following a number of articles on the wealth that the Wen Jiabao family amassed. Jiabao was then the prime minister.
Of late, authorities struggled trying to prevent readership of the newspaper due to the Apple’s Chinese language app.
Nevertheless, Apple removed its Chinese- and English-language apps from its China app store December 23. Apps from other publications that are international such as The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times, remained available as of the publishing of this article.
An Apple spokesman said that authorities in China had told the company they were in violation of local regulations but the spokesperson did not make a comment as to what specific regulations had been violated.
The principle Internet regulator in China, the Cyberspace Administration of China, failed to respond to questions that were sent to its office via fax.
Times’ offices in Beijing were not contacted by authorities in China about this matter. A spokesperson for the Times in New York, said it asked Apple to make a reconsideration of its decision to take the apps of its store.
It appears that the request by China was made through regulations that were released during June of 2016.
Those new regulations say that apps are not allowed to engage in any activities that are prohibited by regulations and laws like endangering the country’s national security, violating legitimate rights as well as interest of others and disrupting the social order.
The Communist Party currently in rule tightly controls the media inside the country and employs one of the most sophisticated systems in the world of internet censorship.
Law in China prohibits publication of any harmful information on the Internet and officials take action often times without any legal procedures or courts orders for material they call objectionable.
Apple previously has removed other media apps that were less prominent from its store in China. It is not clear how Apple evaluates the requests it receives from Beijing to eliminate apps from its store.