Apple blocks several iPhone apps in China

Apple is now the latest American company to bow to Chinese government demands regarding what type of content is appropriate for Chinese citizens.

The Cupertino, California based company stopped Chinese iPhone owners from downloading apps associated with two controversial figures.  The so-called “separatists,” the Dalai Lama and Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, were featured in the iPhone apps.

IDG found that four out of five iPhones in a Beijing Apple store wouldn’t provide access to the iPhone app.  The search for apps related to Kadeer also didn’t yield results, with the ban expected to stay in effect.

Image courtesy of Flickr

It’s proper for companies to adhere to the local and national government regulations in the host nation, but there have been cries of censorship and other unethical behavior by many Americans.  China forces foreign-based companies to adhere to its laws — often times requesting censorship or information regarding writers and dissenters — which outsiders have criticized.

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U.S. Congress has criticized Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Cisco for helping further the “Great Firewall of China” that blocks more than 350 million Internet users to unfiltered Web content.  Some Internet users have found ways around the firewall, but the Chinese government continues to ban even more content.

Reporters Without Borders wants Apple to issue a list of censored iPhone apps, and reasoning behind the ban — but Apple doesn’t appear to be under any obligation to make such a list.

The iPhone officially entered China two months ago, with China Unicom providing support to owners.

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