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Apple Ceases to Offer its New York Times App in Response to Chinese Censorship Legislation

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Brian Demo ’17

More stories from Brian Demo '17

An+iPhone+user+in+Beijing+views+The+New+York+Times+app.
An iPhone user in Beijing views The New York Times app.

An iPhone user in Beijing views The New York Times app.

Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

An iPhone user in Beijing views The New York Times app.

Apple removed The New York Times application from its app store in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) due to conflicts with Chinese regulations.

The technology company had it removed, along with several other apps, to uphold the nation’s censorship laws.  However, this trend is not new.  During December, Apple pulled a series of financial news apps from China, which notably included The Wall Street Journal.  Search engines and social media companies faced pressure from the government as well.

Google pulled out of China in 2010 because the demands of the government became too stressful.  The same stress applied to Facebook.  Yet, reports indicate that the social media giant plans to develop software that controls the News Feed under a tighter window to accommodate the Chinese Market – a place where many people consume digital products.

Since early January, PRC officials have not contacted The Times regarding the matter.  This comes at no shock.  Both parties remain static in their objectives.  The news company works to create independent, unfiltered news for its readers – a goal that clashes with the philosophy of the Chinese government.

Back in June, China released its Provisions on the Administration of Mobile Internet Application Information Services, which states that apps and app providers “must not exploit mobile internet applications to engage activities prohibited by laws and regulations such as those endangering national security, disrupting social order, or violating the lawful rights and interests of others; and must not exploit mobile internet applications to draft, reproduce, publish, or transmit information content prohibited by laws and regulations.”

The Chinese government prohibits the circulation of any information that it deems threatening to the nation.  Its central authority controls a large portion of national affairs.  Representation from PRC citizens proves almost nonexistent.  As a semi-authoritarian regime, the government regulates any entity that it finds disruptive to the social and political orders.

Ongoing efforts to avoid or adapt to the Chinese market will continue.  However, the possibility of the PRC implementing a more laissez-faire policy to involve foreign media-related companies remains unclear.

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Apple Ceases to Offer its New York Times App in Response to Chinese Censorship Legislation