- James Clayton
- BBC North America Technology Correspondent
At the request of officials, Apple removed one of the world’s most popular applications of the Quran (also translated as the Koran) in China.
The app “Quran Majeed” is sold in App Stores around the world and has nearly 150,000 consumer reviews. This program is used by millions of Muslims worldwide.
According to the BBC’s understanding, the application was deleted because it contained “illegal religious texts.”
The Chinese government did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment.
The website “Apple Censorship” first noticed that the application was deleted by Apple. This website is a global monitoring of the applications in the Apple App Store.
PDMS, the maker of the app, said in a statement: “According to Apple, our app Quran Majeed has been removed from the Apple App Store used in China, because now the app’s listing requires additional information from the Chinese authorities. document”.
“We are trying to get in touch with the Office of the China Cyber Security and Informatization Commission and relevant departments in order to resolve this issue.”
The company said it has nearly one million users in China.
The Chinese Communist Party officially recognizes Islam as the country’s religion. However, China has been accused of violating the human rights of many Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang, and has even been accused of genocide of the race.
Earlier this year, the BBC reported that the imam, a Uyghur clergyman, had been targeted in the Xinjiang crackdown.
Apple declined to comment on this matter, but introduced the company’s human rights policy to the BBC and pointed out: “We must abide by local laws, and sometimes we may disagree with the government on some complex issues.”
However, it is still unclear what rules the APP violated in China. Quran Majeed said it was “trusted by more than 35 million Muslim users worldwide.”
Last month, both Apple and Google deleted a tactical voting app designed by the imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
The Russian authorities have threatened that if the two companies refuse to delete the app, they will be fined because the app tells users how to let the candidate nominated by the ruling party lose the election.
China is one of Apple’s largest markets, and the company’s supply chain relies heavily on Chinese manufacturing.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been accused of hypocrisy by American politicians because he sometimes expresses opinions on American politics but remains silent on Chinese politics. Cook criticized Donald Trump’s ban on seven Muslim-majority countries in 2017.
However, Cook has also been accused of obeying Beijing in the censorship system and has never publicly criticized the Chinese government’s treatment of Muslim minorities.
The New York Times reported earlier this year that Apple’s apps in China would be shut down if they were deemed a restricted zone by the Chinese government. Topics that the APP cannot discuss include the Tiananmen Movement on June 4, the Chinese religious activity Falun Gong, the Dalai Lama, and the independence of Tibet and Taiwan.
“Apple Review” project director Benjamin Ismail said: “At present, Apple is becoming Beijing’s review bureau.”
“The company should do the right thing first, and then face any response from the Chinese government.”
Another popular religious app, “Olive Tree’s Bible” (Olive Tree’s Bible), was also removed this week in China. The company told the BBC that they deleted the app on their own.
“Our company was informed during the review process of the app store that we need to provide a license to prove that the apps we distribute in China with book or magazine content are authorized,” a company spokesperson said.
“Because we don’t have a license, and we need to get all of our product updates approved and provided to customers in China, we deleted our APP from the Chinese application store,” he added.
Last Friday (October 15), “The Mac Observer” (The Mac Observer) reported that Amazon’s audiobook and Podcast service “Audible” was removed from the Apple Store in China last month due to “permissions.” Certification requirements”. On the 14th, Microsoft also announced that it would shut down the social functions of its Chinese social network LinkedIn (LinkedIn), saying that it has become increasingly challenging to comply with Chinese government regulations.
This decision was made after LinkedIn, a career network website, blocked some journalists’ files, and was later questioned by all walks of life.