Apple has pulled the New York Times app from its App store in China, after allegations that the publication has violated local regulations with its content.
The move by Apple on 23 December 2016, as reported by the publication in question, saw both the English-language and Chinese-language versions of the app being removed from the App Store. Apps from other international publications remain available.
“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,” Fred Sainz, an Apple spokesman, told the New York Times. “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.”
It is not clear which local regulations the New York Times is in breach of but the publication believes Chinese authorities made the request under the ‘Provisions on the Administration of Mobile Internet Application Information Services’ released in June 2016. The regulation states that apps cannot ‘engage in activities prohibited by laws and regulations such as endangering national security, disrupting social order and violating the legitimate rights and interests of others.’.
A Times spokeswoman in New York, Eileen Murphy, said in a statement: “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.”
The decision to remove the app is not expected to affect those who already have it installed – but they will not be able to download new releases unless they use another region’s App Store. The app is still available in Hong Kong and Taiwan, though they must have a billing address outside of mainland China to download.