Apple yanks China app carrying books critical of the government

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Apple has again moved to prevent anger from China. The Cupertino firm has pulled one bookstore app from the China iTunes store which hosted several titles by authors critical of the government.

Among the ten titles affected by the bookstore app’s removal were three by a banned Chinese author and political activist. The books focus on the long-running dispute over China’s occupation of Tibet, as well as the author’s detention by the country’s state security.

The action follows an apology by Apple CEO Tim Cook, after criticism over the iPhone maker’s warranty policy for smartphones sold in the country…

Bloomberg quotes a Financial Times story explaining that the books removed from the iTunes store in China were written by Wang Lixiong.

Hao Peiqiang, who created an online bookstore app called “jingdian shucheng” that featured Wang’s work, got a word from Apple’s review team today telling him his app will be removed because it “includes content that is illegal in China.”

Apple did not specify what content it was referring to, but Mr Hao told the Financial Times he believed the offending content consisted of three books by Wang Lixiong, the Chinese writer whose works are mostly banned in China.

Notably, Wang has written on China’s policy concerning Tibet, a political hotbed that in 2012 prompted the death of 83 protesters. Wang has also speculated about the eventual collapse of the China regime, as well as his arrest when visiting Xinjiang, the report said.

Unlike the warranty kerfuffle that had Apple respond to a week-long barrage by state-run media, this time around the iPhone maker appears to have willingly employed a self-censorship policy, Hao told the publication:

Friends of mine tell me that Apple has had a censorship policy in place for at least two years so I’m not sure if my app’s removal has anything to do with Apple’s recent trouble.

But the app has been operating normally for the last two months until now without any problems.

The removal of the titles appears isolated only to Apple’s App Store in China.

Apple’s action follows an apology earlier this week by Cook after China’s Central Television lambasted the company’s customer service.

As a result, the Apple CEO pledged the U.S. firm would offer complete replacements for troublesome iPhones.

Apple has also contended with two lawsuits, one by China-based animators alleging the iPad maker permitted illegal downloads of its content, and another legal challenge by developers over the company’s popular Siri voice-recognition software.