Early last year, Apple’s iBooks and iTunes Movies stores were shutdown in China by a government agency. Today, Apple has removed the NYT news apps from the App Store, according to a report from the publication itself.
The report says Apple removed the apps due to a request from Chinese authorities. The apps were removed on December 23 and includes both the Chinese and English versions of the app.
An Apple spokesperson says the apps were removed because they were in violation of local regulations, and that as soon as this is fixed Apple will put them back on the App Store.
“We have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations,” Fred Sainz, an Apple spokesman, said of the Times apps. “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.”
At this point in time, it’s unclear which regulations were violated specifically, nor is it clear which government agency contacted Apple in the fist place. The Times bureau in Beijing has contacted Apple to reconsider the decision.
In the past, Apple has said that it complies with all government regulations and local rules, so it’s highly unlikely that the company will reconsider.
“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,” Ms. Murphy said in a statement.
As of right now, other non-Chinese publication apps are still available on the China App Store.