By Henry Williams
Apple have blocked an iPhone bookstore app from the Chinese app store in an apparent attempt at appeasing censors, according to the app’s developer.
The freemium app, Jingdian Shucheng, gave access to 10 books banned in China. Hao Peiqiang, the developer, told the Financial Times (paywall) that he believes that his criticism of the Chinese government’s policy on Tibet prompted the ban.
In a letter sent to Hao, Apple said that the app was removed because of content that was “illegal in China”. Hao suspects that content in question is three books written by Wang Lixiong, the dissident thrown out of Beijing during the National Congress.
Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines do indeed state that app’s must comply with local laws:
Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users. It is the developer’s obligation to understand and conform to all local laws.
The firm is no stranger to censorship outside of China, banning everything from the Kama Sutra to the porn-happy video app Vine.
This news comes hot on the heels of a turbulent few weeks in China for Apple. Early in April, Apple CEO Tim Cook apologised for “misunderstandings” relating to iPhone warranty policies in China.
Jingdian Shucheng remains available outside of the Chinese mainland. No doubt CCTV will have celebrities protesting the lack of equal treatment on Weibo within the week… or, maybe not.