Katie Benner and Sui-Lee Wee
The New York Times
4 January 2017
Apple, complying with what it said was a request from Chinese authorities, removed news apps created by The New York Times from its app store in China late last month.
The move limits 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 Wen Jiabao, who was then prime minister, but it had struggled in recent months to prevent readers from using the Chinese-language app.
Apple removed both the English-language and Chinese-language apps from the app store in China on Dec. 23. Apps from other international publications, including The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, were still available in the app store.
“For some time now the New York Times app has not been permitted to display content to most users in China and 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.”
Farzana Aslam, associate director of the Center for Comparative and Public Law at the University of Hong Kong, noted that in matters involving customer privacy, Apple requires governments to submit subpoenas, search warrants or other legal documents.
“Maybe in the end they have to do it, but I think there’s something to be said about standing up for what you believe in and purporting to put principle before profit in a country like China, to show that actually there is this tension there,” Ms. Aslam said. “It’s not as simple as, ‘Because we operate in your jurisdiction, we’ll do anything you ask of us.’”... Click here to read the full article.