US tech giant Apple has removed two popular religious apps from its Chinese App Store – “Bible App by Olive Tree” and “Quran Majeed – القران.”
According to Apple Censorship, a database that tracks Apple’s App Store removals in different countries, the apps were removed from the Chinese App Store at some point between September 28 and October 8.
Apple is one of the few US tech giants that’s allowed to operate in China and access its vast market. As a result of this market access, Apple now has an estimated 14% share of the 970 million user smartphone market in China which translates to an estimated 136 million Chinese iPhone users.
However, Apple’s access to this market has been mired in controversy with critics accusing the US tech giant of “enabling the CCP’s (Chinese Communist Party’s) surveillance and oppression.”
The removal of these Bible and Quran apps is the latest of many examples of Apple censoring apps in China – the country that Apple admits it most censors the App Store for.
And over the last couple of years, Apple has removed thousands of apps from the Chinese App Store including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) apps, games, and political apps.
Not only has Apple mass censored apps in China but it has also been accused of compromising iCloud security, giving Chinese apps a pass when they flout its notoriously strict App Store rules, and punishing an employee for approving an app critical of the Chinese government.