Apple Pulls Bookstore App in China Over Illegal Content, FT Says

Apple Inc. removed at least one mobile application from its China iTunes store for containing books banned by the government, the Financial Times reported, citing the app’s developer.

The online bookstore provided access to 10 works, including three by Chinese writer Wang Lixiong, FT said, citing Hao Peiqiang, the app’s developer. Books by Wang, who is also a political activist, are mostly banned in the country, according to the newspaper.

The removal of the app follows an apology this week by Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to customers in its second-largest market. State media including China Central Television had criticized the company for its customer service and warranty policies, prompting Apple to say it will now offer full replacements of older iPhones experiencing problems.

One of the banned works available on the online bookstore is about the future of China’s policies in Tibet, while another addresses the future collapse of the Chinese government, according to the FT. The third book details Wang’s visit to Xinjiang and his detention by state security officers, the newspaper said.

Beijing has faced political dissent in Tibet since its military took over the region in 1959. Last year, 83 Tibetans died after setting themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule, with at least three more dying in January, the Tibetan government-in-exile said on Jan. 25.

The online bookstore has not been removed from App stores outside China, FT said. Apple’s Beijing-based spokeswoman Carolyn Wu didn’t answer calls to her mobile phone on a public holiday and didn’t immediately respond to e-mailed questions from Bloomberg News.

— With assistance by Shiyin Chen

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