Chinese officials have launched a fresh clampdown on the technology sector with the news that it had banned 105 apps.
The banned apps according to Reuters, are mostly Chinese, but also include a few surprises, including the TripAdvisor app, which is American.
China is widely regarded as having one of the repressive online regimes in the world. But of late, it has been mostly Chinese apps that have been banned in countries such as the United States, India, and Taiwan.
Now Reuters reported that China has undertaken a fresh purge of apps available to its citizens, as it seeks to cleanse app stores of apps it feels spread content related to pornography, prostitution, gambling and violence.
The Cyberspace Administration of China reportedly said in a statement on its website on Tuesday that the apps violated one or more of three cyber laws, without providing details for each app.
The decision to ban the US app, TripAdvisor, surprised obeservers.
Reuters’ calls to TripAdvisor’s Beijing office seeking comment went unanswered.
The Chinese department reportedly said it started the campaign on 5 November in response to strong reaction from the general public to content deemed offensive.
It said it would continue to regulate apps and remove those in violation of the law in a timely manner.
App removal in China is nothing new.
In August 2018 Apple removed illegal lottery apps from its App Store in China after criticism from state media outlets.
Local media reports at the time suggested that Apple had pulled around 25,000 apps from its Chinese store, in an effort to co-operate with Chinese regulators.
In 2017 Apple removed hundreds of VPN apps from the China App Store, including ExpressVPN, VyprVPN and StarVPN, saying they breached local laws.
ExpressVPN responded at the time by accusing Apple of ‘siding with censorship’.