Tech giant Apple has removed the New York Times act from its app store in China. The move comes after the government in Beijing requested that the app be removed. The New York Times has blasted China, for the move hinting that the country is trying to prevent its people from seeing news from the outside world.
China has a very insular news media, and its flow is mainly controlled by the government. It is unlikely that this will be the last western media outlet to have its news prevented from entering China. As the strict regime is very careful about any outside news that is given. Another example of this is the banning of many of the worlds most popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Though China does have its own social network called Weibo which has been phenomenally successful with the Chinese as an alternative to sites like Twitter. It currently has around 198 million users and is by far the busiest social network in the country.
According to the New York Times other western media apps are still available on the app store, so it isn’t initially clear what the issue is. But the move is likely to cause anger, as China moves forward in the world, many will hope that the internet censorship that plagues the country is lifted. China is by far the most extensive user of technologies blocking out external websites, though far from the only country to do so. Countries such as Turkey have been repeatedly berated for temporarily blocking its citizens internet access on several occasions.
Apple have only released brief comments on the story as they’re keen to maintain good relations with the government of potentially their biggest customer base. After many years Apple now sell phones in the country, and the burgeoning market promises to be very fruitful for Apple if they play their cards right. Unfortunately on occasion that is going to include complying with some of the more draconian rules that are enforced in the country.
The irony of the situation in China is that in many ways they’re extremely technically advanced. Often being the builders of the technology that they’re then prevented from using. Indeed Apple’s products are all built in the country, a move that they have been repeatedly and heavily criticised for. But it has been a big winner for the firm, propelling them to be the worlds richest company.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.