Technology

Apple removes New York Times app from China App Store

Apple has removed the New York Times application from its China App Store, in compliance with requests from Chinese authorities.

"For some time now the New York Times app has not been permitted to display content to most users in China and we have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations. Apple spokesman Fred Sainz told The Hill.

"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."

The app had previously been one of the few ways for Chinese users to read the American newspaper without using software like Tor or VPNs to bypass government censorship walls, reports the Times.

China started blocking access to the paper's website in 2012, after it ran a series of critical stories about the wealth accrued by the family of then-Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. 

The country is Apple's largest market for sales of the iPhone. 

Both the paper's Chinese- and English-language apps were removed from the China App Store on Dec. 23. Apple has removed other media apps in the past. 

The tech company, based in Cupertino, Calif., declined to specify which Chinese laws the Times was in violation of.

The Times reports that the request to remove its app seems to be the result of a new Chinese regulation passed in June 2016, titled the Provisions on the Administration of Mobile Internet Application Information Services.

The regulation reads that apps cannot "engage in activities prohibited by laws and regulations such as endangering national security, disrupting social order and violating the legitimate rights and interests of others."

"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," Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said in a statement.

This story was updated at 5:46 p.m. on Jan. 4.

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