Amazon’s audiobook service Audible and mobile apps for reading Islamic and Christian holy books have disappeared from Apple stores in mainland China. This is the latest example of the impact of China’s tightening of Internet company rules.
Audible said on Friday that it removed its app from the Apple Store in mainland China last month “due to licensing requirements.”
Makers of apps that read and listen to the Quran and the Bible stated that their apps were also removed from Apple’s China Store at the request of the government.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment on Friday. A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the United States declined to disclose the specific application removal issues, but said that the Chinese government “always encourages and supports the development of the Internet.”
“At the same time, the development of China’s Internet must also comply with China’s laws and regulations,” Liu Pengyu said in an email statement.
The Chinese government has long tried to control the flow of online information, but it is increasingly strengthening law enforcement against the Internet sector in other ways, which makes it difficult to determine the reason for the deletion of a particular application.
Chinese regulators have sought to tighten data privacy restrictions this year and limit the time children spend playing video games. They also exerted greater control over the algorithms that technology companies use to personalize and recommend content.
This summer, the popular American language learning app Duolingo, like many video game apps, disappeared from the Apple China Store. What seems to link Audible with religious apps is that everyone has recently received notifications about licensing requirements for published content.
Pakistan Data Management Services, which made the Quran Majeed application, said it is waiting for the Chinese Internet authorities to provide more information on how to restore it. The Karachi-based company said the app has nearly 1 million users in China and about 40 million users worldwide.
The company’s director of growth and relations Hasan Shafiq Ahmed (Hasan Shafiq Ahmed) said that those who have already downloaded the app can still use it.
He said in an email: “We are looking for what documents are needed to obtain approval from the Chinese authorities to restore the application.”
The maker of the Bible app stated that it learned from Apple’s App Store review process that it needs special permission to distribute apps containing “book or magazine content”, so it has been removed from the Apple Store in China . Washington stated that it is now reviewing the requirements for obtaining the necessary permits, “Hopefully we can restore our application to the Chinese application store and continue to distribute the Bible globally.”
The US Committee on Islamic Relations condemned Apple’s actions, saying that the company is contributing to China’s religious persecution of Muslims and others.
CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said in a statement: “This decision must be reversed. If American companies do not now grow their backbones and stand up against China, they will have May succumb to China’s whimsical ideas in the next century.” A fascist superpower. “
This week, the regulatory agency website AppleCensorship detected these deletions for the first time, which monitors Apple’s app store to detect when apps are blocked, especially in China and other authoritarian governments.
This week, Microsoft stated that it would shut down its main LinkedIn service in China later this year, citing “China’s operating environment is more challenging and compliance requirements are higher.”
Unlike LinkedIn, which has been providing specialized Chinese services since 2014, Audible, a subsidiary of Amazon, stated that it does not provide specialized services for Chinese customers.