Apple Inc has removed the New York Times (NYT.N) English- and Chinese-language news applications from its iTunes store in China. The decision was taken following the request from the local authorities, said the company on Thursday.
The apps said to be removed on Dec. 23 are the latest Western services which are opposed by the Chinese authorities. Banned application include: Apple’s own iBooks and iTunes Movies stores which have been blocked since April. The ban converges the access to one of the few remaining channels for readers in mainland China to read The Times without resorting to special software. The government began blocking The Times’s websites in 2012, after a series of articles on the wealth amassed by the family of PM Wen Jiabao. However, other international publications, including The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, were still available in the app store. Chinese mainstream media has not reported the app removal but it was discussed widely on social media.
“The development of the internet in China must respect China’s laws and regulations, in principle,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in response to a question about the removal of the apps.