In Brief

Apple pulls New York Times at Chinese censors' request

Tech giant removes respected newspaper's app from online store in China for 'violating local regulations'

Apple has bowed to China's censors and removed the New York Times app from the Chinese version of its online store.

The tech giant said it had been advised by Beijing that the app contravened local rules, although it did not say which.

Spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said: "We have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations. 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."

The New York Times is one of the most respected news sources in the world, with a reputation for being rigorously researched and resourced. It has been blocked in China since 2012, along with the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.

This fresh bout of censorship is the latest example of "the incremental tightening of government control over the internet in China", says NBC, adding: "The restrictions on speech and expression in China have grown steadily over the past four years."

Apple's decision sits oddly alongside its refusal last year to unlock the iPhone of a suspected terrorist for the FBI, The Guardian says, when chief executive Tim Cook argued complying would set "a dangerous precedent that threatens everyone's civil liberties".

The paper adds that China is Apple's third-largest market and brings in £7.2bn annually, but says a recent drop in sales has seen Cook launch "what many have called a charm offensive" on the country.

Apple's first research and development centre opened in Beijing in October and there are plans for another one to launch in Shenzen later this year.

This is not the first time Apple has been ordered to shut services in China, continues the Guardian. It closed its iTunes book and film delivery platform last April after instructions from Beijing while its News app is also not available.

Would-be users receive the message "news isn't supported in your current region" - which would seem to be a political truth as well as a technical one.

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