Apple has removed the New York Times app from its store in China after a government request. Both the English and the Chinese versions of the app has been removed since the government considered it a violation of the country’s security terms and law regulations. It is assumed to be a part of the Chinese authority’s wider attempt to prevent readers in China from accessing independent news coverage by the New York Times of that country.
Apps from other international publications like the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times are still available in the iTunes Store.
The New York Times’ website has been blocked in China since 2012 after the paper published an article detailing the wealth of former prime minister Wen Jiabao, and some other members of the political elite and their families. After the website was blocked, people instead turned to the New York Times app to access the articles. The app will continue to work for those that have it, but that new users will have to find a way to get the app from another country’s App Store (which typically requires having a foreign credit card).
A number of other Western websites like Google, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook are also blocked in China making it largest internet censorship regime in the world, blocking thousands of foreign websites viewed as a threat by the ruling Communist party.
For Apple, China is notably huge since it’s one of the biggest markets for a number of products, including iPhones and the App Store, as well as the place where nearly all of its goods are manufactured.
It is definitely a bold move by the Chinese government, proving its command and dominance over the developers who’d want to do business in the country, and forcing them to play by their rules if they ever want to establish themselves in the Chinese tech industry.