China Bans The Spread Of Religion And Apple Goes With It

Written By BlabberBuzz | Saturday, 16 October 2021 23:45

Apple erased two religious apps from the Chinese Apple Store.

Apple watchdog website Apple Censorship announced that the Chinese App Store took down one of the most popular Quran apps after getting a request from Chinese officials.

The Quran Majeed, which boasts 35 million users worldwide and 1 million users in China, had its app removed by Chinese officials on Oct. 8.

"According to Apple, our app Quran Majeed has been removed from the China App Store because it includes content that requires additional documentation from Chinese authorities," app developer PDMS explained to the BBC. "We are trying to get in touch with the Cyberspace Administration of China and relevant Chinese authorities to get this issue resolved."

The Bible App by Olive Tree was likewise taken off that same day. "Olive Tree Bible Software was informed during the App Store review process that we are required to provide a permit demonstrating our authorization to distribute an app with book or magazine content in mainland China," a spokesperson from Olive Tree told the Washington Examiner.

"Since we did not have the permit and needed to get our app update approved and out to customers, we removed our Bible app from China's App Store. We are currently reviewing the requirements to obtain the necessary permit with the hope that we can restore our app to China's App Store and continue to distribute the Bible worldwide."

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Apple has come under fire for its relationship with China, as company suppliers have been blamed for relying on forced Uyghur Muslim workers.

The App Store has likewise removed apps from the Chinese App Store that deal with topics deemed off-limits by Chinese authorities. These include the Dalai Lama, Tiananmen Square, the religious group Falun Gong, and Tibet.

Apple didn't return requests for comment Friday. A spokesperson for China's embassy in the US refused to talk about specific app removals but announced that the Chinese government has "always encouraged and supported the development of the Internet."

"At the same time, the development of the Internet in China must also comply with Chinese laws and regulations," said an emailed statement from Liu Pengyu.

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China's government has long attempted to regulate the flow of information online, though it is increasingly stepping up its enforcement of the internet sector in other methods, making it hard to determine the causes for a particular app's removal.

Chinese regulators this year have attempted to strengthen data privacy limitations and limit how much time children can play video games. They are further exerting greater control over the algorithms used by tech firms to personalize and recommend content.

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