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Friday, 03 December, 2021

China: Apple Removes Holy Books, Audible from App Store Due to 'permit Requirements'

Amazon's Audible audiobook service and phone applications for reading the holy books of Islam and Christianity have vanished from the Apple store, the latest instances of the country's tighter regulations for internet businesses in mainland China. Last month, Audible withdrew its app from the Apple store in mainland China "due to permit restrictions," according to the company. Apps for reading and listening to the Quran and the Bible have also been deleted from Apple's China-based store at the government's request, according to their creators. On Friday, Apple did not respond to demands for comment.

The Chinese government has "always promoted and supported the growth of the Internet," according to a spokeswoman for the Chinese embassy in the United States." "At the same time, Internet expansion in China must adhere to Chinese rules and regulations," says the report "Liu Pengyu issued an emailed statement. The Chinese government has always attempted to regulate the flow of information online, but it is increasingly enforcing the internet sector in other ways, making it difficult to pinpoint the reasons for an app's removal. This year, Chinese officials tried to tighten data privacy laws and limit the amount of time children may spend playing video games.

They're also gaining more power over the algorithms that internet companies employ to customize and recommend content. Over the summer, several video gaming applications, as well as the renowned US language-learning program Duolingo, vanished from Apple's China store. The fact that Audible and the religious applications were both recently alerted of permission requirements for published content appears to be the common thread. The company that makes the Quran Majeed app, Pakistan Data Management Services, said it is waiting for additional information from China's internet regulator on how it may be reinstated.

The app has almost 1 million users in China and around 40 million worldwide. The software may still be used by those who have already downloaded it, according to Hasan Shafiq Ahmed, the company's head of growth and alliances. "We're trying to figure out what paperwork is required to gain clearance from Chinese authorities so that the app may be reinstalled," says the developer "In an email, he stated. After discovering through Apple's App Store review process that it needed special authorization to publish an app with "book or magazine material," the creator of a Bible app claimed it pulled it from the Chinese App Store."

Olive Tree Bible Software, located in Spokane, Washington, stated it is now evaluating the procedures for obtaining the requisite authorization "with the hopes of restoring our software to China's App Store and continuing to distribute the Bible globally."" Apple's actions were denounced by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which said the firm was supporting China's religious persecution of Muslims and others. "This judgment must be overturned," says the author "Edward Ahmed Mitchell, CAIR's national vice director, stated in a statement.”American companies risk spending the next century subject to the whims of a totalitarian superpower if they don't grow a spine and stand up to China right now."

AppleCensorship, a watchdog website that monitors Apple's app store to discover when apps have been restricted, first noticed the deletions this week. AppleCensorship monitors Apple's app store to detect when apps have been blocked, notably in China and other countries with authoritarian governments. Microsoft said this week that its primary LinkedIn service in China would be shut down later this year due to a "much more demanding operating environment and higher compliance requirements in China." Unlike LinkedIn, which has had a separate Chinese service since 2014, Amazon-owned Audible has said that it does not have a dedicated service for Chinese consumers.

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