Apple blocks Dalai Lama apps in China

The move isn't a surprise, as the Tibetan spiritual leader lives in exile and China’s government considers him a separatist.

But the incident is sure to bring some criticism toward China and Apple, even though companies repeatedly have argued they must shift their business practices to accommodate China’s government.

An Apple spokeswoman told PC World that the company must comply with local laws, and that not all of its increasingly popular applications are available in every country. The blocked applications allow users to read quotes from the Dalai Lama and learn where he is teaching.

Google and other Internet search engines have had to self-censor so that Chinese visitors could not link to pornographic or politically sensitive websites in China.

Yahoo came under fierce criticism earlier in the decade when it acknowledged that it provided information to China’s government that was used to convict a Chinese journalist who was accused of leaking state secrets.

Political figures have also bent to China when it comes to the Dalai Lama. President Barack Obama last fall put off a meeting with the Dalai Lama so that it would not take place before his meeting with China’s president. The decision was widely interpreted as an attempt to foster good relations with China.

Obama also pressed China to allow free Internet during a visit to the country in November.