Apple takes down popular Quran app in China after government request, as critics call company hypocritical for working with authoritarian regimes
Apple has been criticised for removing one of the most popular Quran apps from its app store in China.
The company removed the Quran Majeed app earlier this month, according to the website Apple Censorship, which montors Apple’s App Store activities.
The app is also available on Android, but Google’s Play Store is not available in China, with Android devices there instead being supplied by third-party app stores.
Quran Majeed is one of the most popular Quran apps, with developer Pakistan Data Management Services (PDMS) saying it has more than 25 million users around the world.
PDMS told the BBC the app was removed for hosting illegal texts.
“According to Apple, our app Quran Majeed has been removed from the China App Store because it includes content that is illegal,” the company said.
“We are trying to get in touch with the Cyberspace Administration of China and relevant Chinese authorities to get this issue resolved”.
PDMS said the app has about one million users in China.
Apple declined to comment, but directed attention to its human rights policy, which states, “We’re required to comply with local laws, and at times there are complex issues about which we may disagree with governments.”
Apple chief executive Tim Cook criticised a US ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries in 2017, but hasn’t challenged China over alleged human rights violations of the country’s Muslim population, critics say.
China is one of Apple’s biggest markets and its supply chain is heavily dependent on Chinese manufacturing.
“Apple works closely with the most authoritarian regimes on the planet to ensure the economic sustainability of its operations,” Apple Censorship said in a recent blog post.
“It is becoming more and more commonplace for the firm to comply with the censorship requests of said governments… Apple conveniently refuses to question the legality of the requests submitted to it by these regimes.”
The Chinese government has tightened regulations in a number of areas this year, including Bitcoin mining and online gaming.
Microsoft said last week it would shut down LinkedIn in the country over censorship issues.