Last month, Apple complied with a request they said came from the Chinese authorities to remove the New York Times apps from the country’s app store. The Chinese government, which has extreme censorship policies, has been blocking articles from the New York Times website since 2012 after the publication began publishing unfavorable stories about then Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. The company was able to block the NYT website from its citizens but had difficulty keeping readers from using the application.
Apple removed both an English and Chinese version of the NYT application from the app store in China on December 23rd, but left apps other international publications available.
A spokesman for Apple, Fred Sainz, defended the company’s move to comply with the removal of the applications, but did not explain what local regulations the apps were violating and refused to mention who contacted the company.
“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,” Sainz said. “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.”
A NYT spokeswoman, Eileen Murphy, released a statement about Apple blocking their application.
“The request by the Chinese authorities to remove our apps is part of their wider attempt to prevent readers in China from accessing independent news coverage by The New York Times of that country, coverage which is no different from the journalism we do about every other country in the world,” Murphy said.