Date
18 December 2017
The Passion Times news app is no longer available on  Apple Inc.'s China App Store but it can still be downloaded in other countries. Photo: Passion Times
The Passion Times news app is no longer available on Apple Inc.'s China App Store but it can still be downloaded in other countries. Photo: Passion Times

Can’t do it: Apple deletes anti-communist news app in China

Sorry, not in China.

So it seems that an Apple news app can be downloaded in other parts of the world except in the mainland.

Reason: the operating system contains “content that is illegal in China”.

Apple Inc. sent an e-mail to Civic Passion, a Hong Kong anti-communist advocacy group which runs Passion Times, a news website.

The e-mail explains why the Passion Times app is being removed from the App Store in the mainland, industry news website Tech In Asia reported Wednesday.   

A blog post on Passion Times displays an e-mail sent by Apple, saying the app violates App Store Review Guidelines.

However, the app can still be downloaded in other countries.

Civic Passion has been supporting student protests in Hong Kong against Beijing’s encroachment into local politics.

Its Facebook group has more than 200,000 likes and its followers are quite engaged in sharing content and discussing issues.

The Chinese government may have pressed Apple into removing the app, just like it is censoring news coverage of the Hong Kong protests in the mainland, the report said.

Apple has every reason to comply. It’s trying to boost its market share in China among the wealthy and being on the government’s good books is the only way to do business there.

Chief executive Tim Cook has made repeated business trips to the country.

This is not the first time Apple has been caught up in domestic politics.

It takes a proactive stance toward policing content in its app store. It took five tries, for example, for an app that tracks drone strikes to receive approval from Apple, the report said.

Apple’s comfort with censoring content will give it a leg up in China. Google sought to find a compromise between maintaining free speech and appeasing China and failed.

– Contact us at [email protected]

CG/RA

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