Apple censors Quran app and Bible app at request of Chinese authorities

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“We are trying to get in touch with the CAC and the relevant Chinese authorities to resolve this issue as we have had nearly one million users of our application in China who have been affected,” Hasan Shafiq Ahmed, Head of growth at Pakistan Data Management (PDMS), said Business intern. PDMS’s Quran Majeed app is one of two apps that have been removed from Apple’s App Store in accordance with Chinese government requests, according to Apple censorship, an activist-run website that tracks the app store around the world.

While the Chinese government closely monitors the internet with strict online speech and content controls, it is also known for targeting religious minorities in the country, in particular the Uyghur Muslim community. In this context, the government’s requests to withdraw the apps raise new concerns about religious persecution in China.

Why were the apps deleted?

In a statement, PDMS told the BBC that the application was removed because they did not have the required documentation. Regarding the Bible App by Olive Tree, a spokesperson told the BBC that they removed the app themselves after Apple reported its lack of permission to “distribute an app with content of book or magazine “. “Because we didn’t have the license and needed to get our app update approved and distributed to customers, we removed our Bible app from the Chinese App Store,” a spokesperson said.

On the Google Play Store, the Quran Majeed app has more than 5 million downloads while the Bible App has just over a million.

Apple compromises on China

In June, a investigation by The New York Times found that Apple easily complied with Chinese government orders, keeping its business and manufacturing interests in the country in mind.

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“Apple has created an internal bureaucracy that rejects or removes apps that the company believes might violate Chinese rules. Apple trains its app reviewers and uses special software to inspect apps for any mention of topics that Apple has deemed banned in China, including Tiananmen Square, the Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong, the Dalai Lama and the ‘independence of Tibet and Taiwan,’ the report says. noted.

China has also cracked down on tech companies in an attempt to limit their influence: WeChat or Weixin (as it is known in China) suspended registrations for new official and personal accounts on its platform in July. In a statement to Reuters, he said this was because the company is currently upgrading its security technology to align with “all relevant laws and regulations.”

In the same month, the Cyberspace Administration of China ordered app stores to remove ridesharing app Didi Chuxing, China’s most popular ridesharing app, citing serious violations in data collection and use. personal.

Recently, Microsoft announced that it would be pulling its professional networking website from China, citing difficulties in complying with Chinese authorities. Amazon’s Audible app was also removed from the App Store on October 15, citing licensing requirements.

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